Having a furry companion can give you a sense of comfort that you may not always find in another human being. Pets are not only comforting and fun, but they can also improve your mental and physical health. Below are four ways a pet can help to improve your well-being and overall health:
- Lowering your risk for heart disease: owning a pet can help reduce your risk of heart disease. When you own a dog, you’re more likely to regularly engage in physical activities such as taking your pet for a walk. This, in turn, leads to lower blood pressure, stress levels, and cholesterol.
- Provides a companion: owning a pet gives you a sense of companionship that can benefit your body, mind, and spirit. We all need a companion, and a pet is an easy way to provide that.
- Help you with meeting more people: taking your dog for a walk is in only good for your physical health. Pets normally draw attention, thus encouraging more social engagement. This can benefit both your mental and emotional health.
- Reducing anxiety: your anxiety can be reduced by the comfort of having a dog, per a study performed by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation. Pet owners tend to have lower blood pressure and heart rates than those without dogs. They also tend to have better results from stress tests in the study.
Unfortunately, many living arrangements for seniors do not allow the option of owning a pet. There are some programs for pet therapy that will allow you to spend time with the dog, cat, or other animals, though, giving you the opportunity to experience many of the same benefits you would by owning your own pet. Many senior living communities also have a house cat or dog that resides within their community full-time. Regardless of whether you can have a pet where you live or not, there are many options available to give you the chance to be around animals and to improve your health.