9th April 2018
Pets often hold a special place in our hearts, as well as in our homes. When we see a playful pooch or a cuddly cat, many of us can’t help but smile. In fact, studies suggest that owning a pet can actually make us feel happier and healthier.
From helping to increase our fitness levels to enhancing our social lives, pets are full of many remarkable wonders which can benefit us both mentally and physically. Here at Asda Money, we’ve rounded up the top four reasons why owning a pet helps our wellbeing.
Regardless of the animal you’ve chosen to share your home with, pets can provide their owners with love, care and affection. Whether you’ve got a cat that likes to snuggle or a dog who likes their belly rubbed, there’s plenty of research available which shows that interacting with pets can help to reduce stress levels.
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute found that 74% of pet owners saw their mental health improve after owning a pet, and it’s not just stress they are suggested to improve. Being around an animal can also help alleviate symptoms linked with anxiety, depression and loneliness, because of the chemical oxytocin that’s released when stroking or cuddling a pet. Dogs Trust also conducted a similar survey, in which they found that 95% of dog owners were happier when interacting and playing with their pet.
With this in mind, there’s a type of treatment called animal-assisted therapy, or AAT, where animals are used to help somebody’s emotional, cognitive or physical state. This is regularly held in places such as hospitals, universities, prisons and nursing homes, as it can help to develop social skills, make people become more active and lower blood pressure.
Video sourced from IBTimes UK
If you own a pet, and in particular a dog, there will be plenty of opportunities to get out and meet new people. Whether you’re walking in the park or taking part in a training class, dogs are generally sociable animals, and love being outdoors, so they give you the perfect excuse to get chatting to new people.
For those of you looking to meet new, like-minded people, or even if you just fancy sharing your love of pets with others, there are plenty of online networking sites and forums dedicated to pet owners, from sausage dog groups to cat clubs. This gives people the chance to share useful tips and advice with each other, ask questions, and share funny images and videos of their furry friends. If you happen to own a dog, some of these forums also regularly set up group dog walks in their local areas, which gives you a chance to build friendships with people who have common interests.
Having a pet in a home where there are children has a range of benefits, particularly if you’ve got young kids growing up alongside them. Whether your cat needs feeding, or your dog needs to be let outside, letting kids help will encourage a sense of responsibility.
Animals can also help children when it comes to their verbal and social skills. When learning to speak, children will often chatter away to their parents, and having a dog or cat around gives them another opportunity to practice their talking. Pets also offer children unconditional love, giving them the benefits of comfort, support, and a best friend in times of need. If you’re introducing a new pet to children, especially when they are young, be sure to supervise them in the first few weeks. Both the child and pet won’t have discovered each other’s boundaries yet, so their temperaments are something to consider when bringing pets into the home.
One of the most obvious health benefits of owning a pet, especially a dog, is the exercise. Whether you’re playing with your cat or taking your pooch out for a walk, owning a pet will rapidly increase your exercise regime, making you fitter, stronger and, overall, healthier!
Depending on the breed of your four-legged friend, the amount of exercise they require will differ. However, most dogs need to be walked several times a day, so whether your dog only needs a short walk around the block or a one hour run around a field, this will help improve the amount you exercise, and will benefit your general health. There are plenty of other, more creative ways you can exercise with your pets that don’t just involve a standard dog walk too. From doga (dog yoga) to agility training, there’s so much available to keep you and your pet moving.
Although animals help to keep us healthy and happy, their health and wellbeing is of course also a priority, and having suitable pet insurance will make sure that they’re covered for injuries or illnesses. Here at Asda Money, we offer a range of pet insurance cover types, for both cats and dogs. Find out more about Asda Money Pet Insurance underwritten by Fairmead Insurance here.
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