Dog. Cat. Lizard. Fish. Most everyone has owned some kind of pet at some point during their life. In fact, according to the ASPCA , 78 million dogs and 85.8 million cats are owned in the United States! And let's not forget about all the other more unusual pets such as hedgehogs, sugar gliders, or bearded dragons! Whether you're into pets that are fluffy or feathery, we can all agree that pets bring so much joy into our lives. These little (or big!) companions have the ability to comfort you when you're down and help celebrate life's wins. Read on the discover some of the proven perks (or "purrks") of owning a pet!
Creating New Friendships
A study by Harvard Medical School showed that having a pet can help you to create new friendships with people! Taking your dog to the park or joining an animal fan club is a great way to meet new people. You can turn to your new friends for advice and bond over your love for your pet! And you can always start your own dog-walking club or animal fan club if you can't find one near you.
Provide Pain Relief
It's official, spending time with animals can help reduce pain enough that you may be able to ditch the Tylenol! Anthrozoos published a study which revealed that patients who interacted with therapy animals asked for less pain medication than those who did not spend any time with the animals. You may think of therapy animals as just dogs, but even animals such as rabbits, llamas, horses, and ducks can be therapy animals! Next time you're experiencing some pain, try spending time with your pet and see if it helps. If you're looking for another way to reduce pain.Immune System Boost
It can be gross when your pet comes in from outside covered in mud and who knows what else. But they're actually doing you a small favor! When animals track in new microbes, your immune system toughens up to be able to fight it in the future. A study was done on babies to see how animals effect their immune systems which showed that babies that grow up with a pet are less likely to get sick. One interesting statistic from the study showed that babies that grew up with a dog were 31% more likely to be healthy in their first year of life. So you can thank your childhood pet if you haven't gotten sick much lately!
De-stress and Relax with your Pet
Interacting with your beloved pet triggers your brain to release a feel-good hormone called Oxytocin. This hormone causes you to relax due to a slowed heart rate and inability to produce stress hormones among many other things. There's a reason why after spending some quality time with your pet, you feel at ease and content. Plus, did you know that your pet experiences similar feelings after you spend time with it? How sweet!
While there are countless benefits to owning a pet, we think the greatest thing is the unconditional love they provide us. There's nothing like coming home to an animals who is always happy to see you, no matter what!