They drive us crazy and they often make a mess. They even hog the bed.
You might think I’m talking about children, but no… I’m talking about pets. We love them so much and treat them like one of the family – even on those days when we feel like life would be a lot easier without them.
The truth? Our dogs, cats and other animal companions add so much to our lives…from incredible health and happiness benefits to just plain old fun.
Marty Becker, DVM, of Vetstreet.com says research shows that the more time you spend with your furry friends, the better you feel. In honor of National Puppy Day just a couple of days ago, we thought it would be fun to find out more about how pets enhance our lives and make the world a better place.
Pets get us moving.
From a fun game of hide and seek or fetch with the dog to a game of cat and mouse with your cat, pets get us off the couch. These short bursts of energy burn calories, and get your heart rate going. Just a quick walk down the block with your dog can add up to big health benefits over time.
Pets are good for our health.
Owning a pet reduces cardiovascular disease risk factors (i.e. lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels and a lower likelihood of obesity) and stroke.
They help us become more caring and compassionate.
Research shows that when we give kids the opportunity to grow up around pets; they’ll learn to become more nurturing, giving adults. But even as adults, we become more empathetic when pets come into our lives because we understand that life is about caring for something other than just ourselves.
Pets make us feel good about ourselves.
We all want to feel needed. Pets need us to feed and take care of them and in return, they show us unconditional love without any judgment. A 2011 study found that pet owners reported higher levels of self-esteem as well as a greater sense of belonging.
They reduce our stress.
As much as our pets loved to be stroked and petted by us, we get huge benefits, too. Our brains increase production of the hormones serotonin and oxytocin — two calming chemicals that make us feel more relaxed.
Pets help us establish routine.
Daily walks, playtime and feeding are part of pet ownership – and that brings routine and discipline for both pets and pet owners. When there is order and purpose in our lives, we’re happy and more productive.
What do you love most about your pets? Tell us about them and how they make your life better (and even share a photo) in the comments below!
Dr. Mike Mavrostomos is passionate about providing top-quality, comprehensive dental care. He is located in Bedminster, NJ whose continual pursuit of education and state-of-the-art dentistry has led to his being recognized as one of New Jersey’s Top Dentists by the New Jersey Top-Docs committee.