Many people become pet owners for the simple joys of having a furred companion in their homes. Pet owners often shower their pets with affection by snuggling with, spending time with, or taking and sharing cute pictures of their pets. They may even spend lots of money on products and services that will ensure the best possible quality of life for their fur babies.
Pets, on the other hand, do more than receive the love of their fur parents. While these animals may first appear to be the only lucky ones in a pet and owner relationship, they also give something back to their human companions. In many ways, the presence of pets provides people with practical but often unnoticed benefits. These include:
Fulfilling the Human Need for Touch
Central to forming experiences, a person’s sense of touch connects them to their immediate environment. Humans feel the need to connect with others through their sense of touch, though not everyone has another person that they can reach out to at any time.
Pet owners, however, have a means of connecting with other living beings: interacting with their fur babies. If you have a dog, cat, or other furred animal companion at home, you can groom, pet, and play with them. Your fur baby will be sure to appreciate the attention that you lavish on them, and you can enjoy a deeper sense of engagement with the world around you by interacting with your pet. By spending quality time with your pet, you can mitigate stress, anxiety, loneliness, and other emotional and physical effects of touch deprivation.
Adopting a Habit of Walking and Exercising
Dogs, the most popular type of pet in the US, are creatures of habit. They need regular physical activity to keep them healthy, happy, and mentally stimulated. Given this, it’s a must for responsible owners to take their dogs for a walk every day.
The good news is that going out regularly with your pet can give you plenty of health benefits. To be specific, walking every day with your pet can help improve cardiovascular fitness and ward off diseases that are linked to inactivity.
If you already live an active life, you can take your pet along as a fitness companion and enjoy hiking, running, and trekking together. Just be sure to train your pet adequately and to prepare everything you need (such as sturdy leashes, custom martingale collars, and collapsible water bowls) before your outdoor excursions.
Boosting Your Mood
Pets, no matter if they’re furred, finned, feathered, or scaled, are a stress buster. Indeed, coming home to a pet that’s excited to see you can help you feel better at the end of a long day. Similarly, cuddling with your fur baby can lift your spirits whenever you’re feeling down or lonely.
This is because interacting with pets is shown to reduce cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and increase oxytocin (the same hormone that bonds mothers to babies) in your brain. In fact, there are working animals that are primarily focused on offering comfort and relief to people in stressful situations.
Adding Structure to Your Day
Pets need to be fed and cleaned regularly, and many types of pets crave interaction with their owners. Because of this, pet owners must establish a daily routine to let their pets know that it’s time for feeding, for a walk, or for using the litterbox. This helps humans and pets set expectations for each other.
If feeding is habitually done after office hours, for example, then pet parents have the motivation to finish their jobs on time. At the same time, their pets will remain calm even if their food bowls are still empty by 4 or 5 PM. Knowing that someone is waiting for you can help you be more conscious of how you use time and take ownership of every moment that you’re in the workplace.
Opening Doors for Social Interaction and Companionship
According to a recent report, about 22 percent of Americans experience loneliness regularly. The epidemic of loneliness, as social scientists have deemed this phenomenon, has been going on for years. Nowadays, it’s seen as a serious threat to public health, as the stress and feeling of isolation brought about by loneliness can cause people to suffer from all sorts of medical conditions.
While having a pet is not the same as having another person around, the presence of a companion animal can offer comfort and support to people who are feeling lonely. In addition, doing everyday activities with pets (such as taking them out for a walk) can encourage people to bump into and interact with each other. In fact, pet owners can create and nurture fulfilling relationships with others who share the same concern and fondness for animals.
Companion animals are lucky to have their owners, but the same can also be said of people who have found furred family members to love and care for. It’s a win-win relationship that has positive effects on humans and their fur babies alike.