When you’ve got a pet, you benefit from the unconditional love that your furry friend showers on you. Research shows that besides making you feel warm and fuzzy, the love you experience as an animal owner can actually lead to better health for you, too. Read about these benefits here in these tips for healthier living with a pet in your apartment.
Health benefits of pets for all ages
As a source of unconditional love and comfort, pets just make us feel good. When we dote on these lovable buddies, our brains release powerful mood-enhancing chemicals like serotonin and dopamine, which make us feel calm and happy. Some of the benefits of living with a pet include lower blood pressure, an immunity boost, and a healthy dose of social interaction.
Fido, the fitness coach
One reason why life with pets leads to healthier living is that pets encourage us to get up off the couch and get physical. It’s easy to forget about exercise or make excuses not to go to the gym, but when your beloved pet is demanding playtime, it is hard to say no. Whether you’ve got a cat who likes you to toss her feather toy across the floor to chase or a dog who begs you for walks, spending time with pets helps you get healthy amounts of physical activity, as well. In this way, Fido or Kitty can become your unexpected fitness coach.
There’s also research to indicate that living with pets in an apartment can help children overcome sensitivity to allergies. While the traditional school of thought was that allergy-prone families should avoid having furry pets, current studies show that children who grow up in homes with pets end up decreasing their chances of developing severe allergies or asthma. It turns out that exposure to these animals helps children develop a stronger immune system against allergens.
Friend (or date) magnets
Regular social interaction is another cornerstone of healthy living, and owning a pet is a shared experience others enjoy relating to. Dogs are like friend magnets because they are cute and are such great conversation starters. It’s nearly impossible to take a dog to the park without having someone ask to pet the animal or inquire about the breed. These social exchanges can mean a lot when you are looking to make new connections with people, say, after a move to a new city. And if you’re a little on the shy side, walking a dog can really help you break out of your shell.
Pets and unconditional love
Because dogs and cats encourage physical activity and social interaction, it’s not hard to see why life with pets can lead to healthier living. For the chronically ill, these benefits are just the tip of the iceberg. For those who may be dealing with a health crisis, living with a pet can be a big mood booster. That’s because caring for a pet takes the focus off of one’s own troubles. In fact, studies show that AIDS patients who live with pets are less likely to suffer from depression, and those with high blood pressure who live with pets are more likely to remain calm in high-stress situations.
Pets, then, are like powerful non-prescription medicine — not to mention that having a snuggly pet curl up next to you nightly can make you feel loved and needed. It seems amazing that something as simple as scratching your dog behind the ears can make you feel so good, but the simple truth is that living with pets is a meaningful way to help improve your overall sense of health and well-being.