We love our pets. We treat them like family, and rightly so. In fact, Americans will spend over $72 billion in 2018 on our pets, a staggering number that has steadily risen for over two decades1. When the Great Recession hit nearly a decade ago and many Americans found themselves out of work, pet spending remained consistent2. Many of us have had to tighten our belts in recent years, but we have still found ways to pamper our furry friends.
Yes, owning a pet brings joy and laughter into our home, and we can feel good about providing a nurturing environment to a precious life, but are there perhaps unknown benefits to owning a pet that our family may realize? Let’s look at five benefits of owning a pet and see how we, as humans, can reap the rewards.
1) WE LEAD A MORE ACTIVE LIFESTYLE
Owning a pet, especially a dog, requires us to be more active. Scheduled walks and play time allow us to exercise along with our pet. According to a study in England, Adults who own dogs took 25% more steps per day than non-owners and children from dog-owning families recorded higher levels of physical activity than children without dogs3. In this age of technology, owning a pet may be the best way to get your kids away from the video screens.
2) PET OWNERSHIP LEADS TO BETTER OVERALL HEALTH
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), owning a pet can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels4. If having a healthier heart wasn’t enough, in an economic study by the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative, it was found that pet ownership saves $11.7 billion in health care costs5. Our pets not only can make us healthier, they can actually help save on those doctor bills.
3) OWNING A PET CAN LEAD TO LESS ALLERGIES IN CHILDREN
One would think that if a child was at risk for allergies, keeping him/her away from indoor pets would make sense. However, this may not be the case at all. According to a study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, having pets at a very young age can strengthen a child’s immune system, guard against asthma and eczema as well as prevent allergies later in life6. While this may not affect an adult with allergies, it may allow them to breathe a little easier about their child not developing the same symptoms as they grow up.
4) A PET CAN HELP BEAT THE BLUES
Not only do pets give unconditional love, but they have the potential to drastically reduce depressive symptoms7. The same report in Frontiers of Psychiatry found that adults and children with physical or mental challenges can improve their mood with animal contact. New research suggests that stroking a pet releases “feel good” hormones, such as serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin, as well as decreasing the primary stress hormone, cortisol8. Pets can also help diminish loneliness in senior citizens, where isolation and loss of social interaction may lead to depression9. This is the reason why many hospitals and nursing homes use animal-assisted therapy on a regular basis.
5) PETS CAN HELP WITH A CHILD’S DEVELOPMENT
A study found that children with pets have greater self-esteem and enhanced social skills10. Pets can help with a child’s curiosity and wonder. An interest in animals will most often lead to questions about biology and nature, laying a foundation for learning science in school. Believe it or not, dogs may also help children improve their reading skills. A study suggests that kids who read aloud to a dog made a small gain in their reading ability compared to those who read to an adult11. Is there nothing that Fido can’t do?
Pets can do wonders for humans of all ages. As much as they do for us, we must also do for our four-legged family members. One important aspect is to keep our animals as healthy as possible. Sovereign Silver for Pets provides immune support* for our beloved pets, and is safe* and easy to use. After all, when our pets benefit, we do as well.