Most pet owners will agree that animals bring an enormous amount of joy to our lives. They make us smile, laugh and provide an endless source of comfort and companionship. UK charity, National Pet Month recognises the important role pets play and are making strides to promote the benefits of responsible pet ownership. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of just some of the health and social benefits you are likely to experience when welcoming a pet into your life.
Pets improve your immune system
It was once thought that having a pet in the home would lead to conditions such as asthma. However, scientific research has dispelled this myth and shown that growing up in a household surrounded by furry pets can result in children developing fewer allergies. This is thought to be a result of constant exposure to allergens, which strengthens the immune system over time.
Owning a dog can keep you fit
Attending the gym can be repetitive and it can often be difficult to muster the enthusiasm to reach fitness goals on your own. Owning a dog can help motivate you to get off the sofa and spend more time outdoors. Large breeds of dog especially require walks multiple times a day, which will in turn help your weight loss and fitness endeavours. Aside from the clear benefits of increased exercise, being in the fresh air can help clear your head and can be a great means of de-stressing. Increased exercise from dog walking or simply playing with your pet has been found to reduce cardiovascular problems and even cholesterol levels.
Read our top tips for keeping fit with your dog
Animals are great for your emotional wellbeing
From time to time we can all feel lonely and wish we had someone by our side.. Having a pet means you will never be short of company and will always be greeted by a happy friend when returning home. Petting is thought to be an excellent way to de-stress and reduce anxiety, through the release of chemicals called endorphins, which improve mood. Stroking an animal has even been linked to a reduction in blood pressure.
Pets improve your social life
Owning a pet is an excellent way to increase your social circle. Dog walkers are notoriously friendly and you will seldom meet another owner who doesn’t stop to say hello as your dogs sniff each other or play. There are numerous clubs you can join with your dog such as obedience or agility classes, where you can meet other like-minded people. Not restricted to the dog community, many people bond with other owners in online forums and shows.
Teach children responsibility and routine
Owning a pet is a huge responsibility and not one that should be undertaken lightly. Some pets require a considerable time and monetary commitment, which should be carefully considered before deciding to purchase or rehome an animal. However, this sense of responsibility can help teach younger members of the family a number of life skills, which will help them develop and grow. Helping feed, walk or groom a pet is an excellent way to teach routine, care and emotions such as empathy.