Why You Should Share Your Life With an Animal Companion
Animals make our lives richer in so many ways – from social to health benefits. If you’re contemplating sharing your life with an animal friend, here are some of the benefits you’ll get from choosing to bring a pet into your home.
Nothing beats coming home to a dog who is very excited to see you. Being greeted by a vigorously wagging tail and tons of sloppy dog kisses is certainly better than coming home to an empty house. Whether you’ve had a great day or a challenging one, walking through the door to the unconditional love and regard of an animal companion will instantly bring a smile to your face, reduce any stress you may be carrying from your commute, workday, or trip to the grocery store, and make you feel great about yourself.
Physical Health Benefits
Living with an animal companion can be a boost to your immune system. It is thought that growing up in a home with animals can help to build and strengthen a child’s immune system as they are exposed to allergens and germs through the animal. Specifically, some studies have demonstrated that spending childhood around animals results in fewer bouts of allergies and asthma in children.
For adults, all the exercise we get in walking and playing with our animal companions can lead to improved cardiovascular health. Studies have found that people who live with animals often have lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in their blood, as well as lower blood pressure. And, all the extra exercise can improve overall health, including muscle and bone strength, brain health, and mood.
Mental Health Benefits
Caring for an animal companion can give us a sense of purpose and a feeling of empowerment. Since we all need to find meaning in our lives, this can help keep the blues away and reduce stress.
As already mentioned, the companionship of an animal brings unconditional love and regard, which reduces stress, loneliness, and isolation and increases our sense of well-being. Knowing we are loved and wanted helps to keep us mentally strong.
Socialization is necessary for mental well-being. When we live with an animal companion, we are never far from making new friends. Walking with a dog often leads to conversations with new people as they stop to meet or admire your dog or introduce him to their pups. Additionally, there are plenty of opportunities to socialize at dog parks, pet stores, and other community events for like-minded animal lovers. All these chances for socialization can keep loneliness at bay, which is vital to both mental and physical health.
Finally, dopamine and serotonin – the feel-good chemicals secreted in our brains when we do the things we enjoy – increase from petting and hugging our animal companions, making us feel happy and calm.
It’s no wonder why so many people choose to share their lives with animals. They aren’t just cute and fun; they enhance and improve our lives and our health in numerous ways.