Pet ownership can have numerous positive effects on our health, such as improving moods, increasing exercise and decreasing stress levels. Studies show that being a pet parent reduces the risk for heart disease and enhances the cardiovascular response to stress.
Owning a pet can increase the levels of oxytocin in your body, the same hormone released when you form an intimate bond with someone or your child. This hormone has been known to help alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety.
According to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, petting your pet may increase oxytocin production and lower stress hormones like cortisol. Furthermore, those who own dogs experience less depression than those without pets.
Researchers have discovered that pet owners tend to eat healthier than non-owners, due to the additional motivation it can provide. Studies suggest this extra activity may even improve health for people with diabetes and heart disease by encouraging them to be physically active and consume nutritious foods.
According to psychologist Daniel Fierstein, The Power of Pets, having a pet can improve your mood by adding structure and purpose into your daily life. According to him, these factors may reduce depression and anxiety symptoms.
Research by Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine has suggested that having a pet may provide you with increased social and emotional connections with other people, which in turn increases your overall sense of well-being and makes you happier and more relaxed, according to this same research.
Owning a pet may reduce your risk of developing certain cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma. This is because having a furry friend encourages you to eat healthier, exercise more, and get out in the sunlight more frequently – all of which help keep your immune system strong and prevent cancer from forming.
When purchasing a pet, ensure it receives proper training and care. An untrained dog or cat could become susceptible to infections or diseases that would be otherwise preventable.
Animals such as rodents and reptiles may carry bacteria which can be hazardous to humans. These germs are especially hazardous when exposed to infants, the elderly or people with compromised immune systems; infections from these sources can be severe – sometimes fatal – for those with weaker immunity systems.
Older adults are particularly vulnerable to germs and viruses due to weakened immune systems and organs that cannot recognize and eliminate them as quickly as they used to. This can be a stressful time for seniors.
People living with HIV can experience symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, headache and stomach cramps. Those who already have a compromised immune system are especially vulnerable to developing severe complications like kidney failure.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite, can be spread to humans through contact with cat feces. If left unchecked, this parasite can cause severe brain, eye, and organ damage in those severely infected individuals.