Did you know that having a pet can help you survive a heart attack, recover more quickly from illness, and keep you fit?
Just one look of uncompromising adoration is enough to perk you up from your darkest moments.
While the pleasure of keeping pets seems obvious to anyone who has one, there have been several scientific studies that explore just how beneficial pets can be.
I Prescribe Snuggles
Detailed studies on the everyday advantages of having a pet have unearthed interesting discoveries on why the pet-owner relationship has such a remarkable effect on our mental and physical health.
"What's brown and sticky?"
A 2011 study by the American Psychological Association revealed that in general, “pet owners had greater self-esteem, greater levels of exercise and physical fitness, and they tended to be less lonely than nonowners”, and also that pets could help stave off negative thinking. Other studies show that the regular walking with dogs is beneficial to heart health and fitness levels. Even Freud was a fan, noting that the lack of a reaction from his non-judgemental sidekick helped calm his patients.
Cats can also provide a range of benefits. They’ll help you have a healthier heart – stroking a cat has been shown to lower blood pressure. They can also help you sleep better, and even increase your sex appeal – because surely if you can handle the demands of your feline overlord, a relationship is child’s play.
"Six fish walk into a bar.."
That’s Deep, Man.
You can’t really stroke them, take them for a stroll, or fall asleep with them purring next to you, but fish can also give a boost to your mental wellbeing just by the very act of swimming. A study conducted last year by Plymouth University suggests that having an aquarium around the house can reduce your heart rate and blood pressure, and improve your mood and concentration.
These effects were even greater for people with less access to the outside world. If that all sounds a bit fishy to you, consider how often dentists and surgeries have aquariums in their waiting rooms to help patients relax. The combination of the tank’s soothing burbles and the movement of the fish within can induce a sense of calm that’s hard to beat.
The greatest benefit most people get from owning a pet is having a living being to care for and to be loved by. Companionship means company, and company means friends. Whether Pomeranian, Persian or Parrotfish, the joy of having a happy, healthy animal in your home is an instinctive one, shared by millions of people around the world