We know that having a pet in the family is great for overall happiness. It also teaches kids a sense of responsibility. But did you know that having a pet could also improve your life expectancy?
As weird as it may seem, let’s take a look at how they can help you with that.
Gives You a Sense of Purpose
People who tend to have poorer health often lack a sense of purpose in life. They generally need a good reason to get up in the morning. And, having a pet around to take care of gives them that reason. When you know that a living being is dependent on you for their survival, you automatically feel more energized.
Just taking care of your pet gives you a sense of reward, control, and a sense of purpose. Studies tell us that this is particularly good for elderly people who suffer from chronic conditions.
Pets Give Unconditional Love
It’s almost impossible for humans to love unconditionally. But, that’s not the case with pets. They will love you no matter what.
Their companionship is unlike anything. You can rest assured that when you come home after a long day’s work or even after a long walk, your pet will be there to greet you.
Sometimes that loveful greeting by your cat or dog is enough to burst you with joy and love. We know for a fact that love is one of the biggest forces that keeps us alive and gives us a reason to live.
Regular Destressing Activities
Almost all dog breeds love to cuddle and play. Just the act of cuddling your furry little friend, playing with it, or throwing a ball around is an excellent stress-buster. As you observe their tiny quirks, you may find yourself laughing occasionally.
Instead of being trapped in your bubble, you open up and let your inner child take over. You become less serious and more fun, both of which are great for busting stress.
You Get More Exercise
More natural movement automatically improves your life expectancy and longevity. When you own a pet, you know that, at the very least, they would take a 30-minute walk either in the morning or evening. That’s a given. But, that’s not the only way pets help you get moving and benefit your health.
As a pet owner, you have to move constantly. There’s so much physical activity involved with being a pet owner. For example, you have to get up to feed them, clean their litter tray, look after their bedding, clean them, take them to the vet, and whatnot!
Essentially, looking after a cat or a dog naturally reduces prolonged hours of sitting. With more domestic activity, you are bound to enjoy better general health.
Good for Your Mental Health
We know for sure that there’s a close link between mental health issues and heart diseases. The fact has been well-backed by studies.
That’s why a pet’s role in improving longevity shares a strong connection with improved mental health; more than the physical one.
The older age group is more prone to isolation and poor social connection. That’s why their mental health also takes a toll. Having a pet around is a fine way to improve their mental well-being.
Especially people with long-term illnesses such as autism feel a whole lot better due to the unconditional, simple, and nonjudgement relationship they share with pets, which a human often can’t provide.
According to medical reports, older people feel less lonely and more socially enhanced with a pet around.
They Encourage Natural Movement
We already touched upon this point, but it bears repeating. Simply taking your dog out for a walk is not the only way in which you get everyday movement. Any pet owner would testify to the fact that with ownership comes all-day regular movement.
You have to get to feed your pet, make sure there’s water available at all times, clean their utensils, take care of accommodation, etc.
This increase in domestic activity automatically balances blood pressure, improves heart health, and keeps mental health issues at bay.
The best part is - you don’t have to force yourself to get up. The movement comes naturally to a pet owner. That’s part of the reason you will see a growing number of senior living centers for pet owners popping up everywhere that allow residents to live with pets.
Better Social Life
Maintaining a social life becomes harder for older folks as they are cut off from the family. The friends are no longer available.
Being out of a job cuts them from their peers too. In such a case, having a pet is the perfect social catalyst. As you go out for walks, it’s normal for other random pet-owners to stop and ask about the dog.
It's the perfect way to start conversations and build practical connections that could come in handy for practical stuff too.
Better Heart Health
The American Heart Association tells us that right now, over 103 million Americans are living with high blood pressure. This puts them at an increased risk for hypertension and heart issues.
We also know that regular exercise is good for heart health, managing blood pressure and hypertension. Over time, regular exercise can increase HDL, bring down LDL (bad cholesterol) and also prevent blood clotting.
Under normal circumstances, people don’t find enough encouragement to get up and get going. But, with a pet around, the motivation to go for a walk and move around comes naturally. As a result, you are bound to enjoy better heart health which translates to improved longevity.
As you can tell - having a pet has more benefits to offer than we can enlist. From emotional, psychological, physiological, mental - it’s amazing what having a cat or a dog around can do for your overall quality of life.