They can be rather expensive and at times too messy. Even then if you are one of the millions of pet owners in any corner of the world, you would understand that imagining your life without your dearest dog, cat or any other animal companion is devastating.
However, do you ever wonder that why we as a community are so highly determined to make our four-legged companions a part of the family. Well, probably because these companions make their owners a happier and healthier person.
There is no doubt that we all need some form of social support for our overall physical and psychological well-being but people cannot be the only source of this support and sense of belongingness.
Many researchers are only now starting to give closer look at this companionship and many studies show that one of the common opinions of doctors is that as people spend more time with their four-legged companions the better they feel about themselves.
However, for better understanding here are some reasons, backed by science, for why owning a pet adds to the bliss in our lives and make us a happier person. Read these reasons and try to hold on to your cool over next spilled water dishes.
Your pet makes you a more active person
Whether you are playing around in the living room with your cat or if you are tossing the tennis ball at your dog in the park, you are definitely moving around. Going through such activities during your day mean burning calories, making your heart rate up and getting the boost of good mood and energy that this quick and simple exercise can provide you.
A Ph.D., psychologist and social scientist at Ohio State University, David Niven, says that dog owners walk 79 percent farther each day than people who don’t have a dog.
It hardly ever will be as intense as a spin class but you are definitely moving around and working off more calories than if you were just sitting on your couch and watching TV.
Your pet keep you healthy
The American Heart Association conforms that the pet ownership can be linked to reducing risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, such as lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and lower probability of obesity.
Moreover, based on another study, the doctor said that cat owners were less likely by 40 percent to have a heart attack or a stroke than the cat-free counterparts of the study.
However, beyond the exercise and health factor, experts can’t really say why and how pets can improve health of their owner, but they sure do.
Hence, you can even think of your cat or dog as free medicine that you already have at home and that can help you maintain optimum health.
Your pet give you a self-esteem kick
A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in the year 2011 said that pet owners are seen to have higher level of self-esteem, a more meaningful existence and a greater sense of belonging than people with no pets.
Maybe this is so because pets make their owners feel needed, they shower unconditional love for their owners or maybe because they are not at all judgmental about their owners’ appearance and lifestyle.
Your pet help you develop empathy
David Niven said that “Taking care of an animal reminds you that all humans and animals have needs that may eclipse your own, and you’re able to see things from others’ point of view. That helps you become more caring and compassionate.”
Some studies show that kids who have had pets grow up to be more giving and nurturing adults as they learn from young age how living creatures feel pain and need comfort. However, even adults who get pets tend to build a stronger sense of empathy because of their new furry and feathered friends.
Petting them brightens your mood
According to the research conducted by University of Missouri-Columbia, when you stroke or touch your pets it not only soothes them but it also has a great physiological impact on you.
Only few minutes of been in contact of your pet signals your brain into producing hormones serotonin and oxytocin. These are two chemicals that have calming effect on you, they make you feel more relaxed and at peace.
Moreover, according to David Niven’s study, when you run your hands through your dog’s fur, it lowers the level of stress hormone cortisol. Furthermore, even though this study only included dogs but Niven thinks that the same results will come from petting, nuzzling or rubbing any animal companion.
Your pet add to your social connections
A lot of times when you are out walking with your pet, some stranger would smile, play with your pet, say hello or even start a conversation. We commonly see adorable pet videos trending on social media and it catches other pet owners’ attention, building up an enjoyable conversation.
These exchanges may seem too brief and not so important but they can actually make you feel less isolated and more connected with people around you and your community. It also creates a sense of belongingness that make you happier because as humans we more often than not feel good when we feel connected to others around us.
Hence, your pets can be great help in starting a conversation and working as icebreakers while also growing your social connections.
They bring order to your lives
In the entirety of the experience, having a pet is like going for daily walks, establishing eating and playtime routines and setting vet appointments after regular intervals. Even though it sounds like having a pet is too much work but there is a definite upside to all this responsibility and parent-like behavior.
It helps bring discipline, order and routine in your everyday life and in many ways it helps you as much as it helps them.
With time these series of boring tasks become your habits and they structure your day. Moreover, this order may give your life purpose and it may make you feel happier, more productive and fulfilled.
I am Joe Gardiner and I am a full-time blogger for AlphatrackMeter. Words are my choice of art and I love to read and write about everything effecting our society, sense of community, human relations and reactions.