With 2024 right around the corner, many of us are considering our New Year’s resolutions. Whether you want to get more active, eat more veggies, or start living in the moment, a new year is a fresh start! But did you know that having pets may be one of the best ways to ensure you live better (and happier!) for longer? Let’s talk about the benefits of having a pet, from lowering stress to boosting moods.
Benefits Of Having A Pet
Pets have been part of human lives for centuries, offering us companionship, love, and a sense of purpose. Whether they’re a hardworking companion on the job or the welcoming committee when you get home each day, there’s something special about sharing your life with a pet. According to research by the CDC and other leading experts, the benefits of having a pet include:
We’re hardwired to find our companion animals comforting. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, petting an animal actually reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol and increases levels of the feel-good hormone oxytocin. In other words, science backs up what many people know intuitively—we feel better after petting a dog or cat.
When was the last time you took time to play? According to psychologists, playing is just as important for adults as it is for children. It helps release mood-boosting endorphins, lowers stress, and supports creativity. But as we get older, work and responsibilities get prioritized over playtime.
Luckily, our pets need to play as much as we do! Daily playtime provides the mental stimulation and enrichment they need to stay happy and healthy. Whether you’re playing fetch with your pup or blowing bubbles for your cat, our family pets give us plenty of opportunities to play.
According to the CDC, only 28% of Americans get the recommended 150 minutes of moderate activity weekly. For dog owners, that number goes up to about 60%! Because dogs need to be walked and exercised, dog owners tend to be more active. Plus, when you’re enjoying a hike with your four-legged best friend, the miles fly by a lot faster than when you’re exercising alone.
A Sense of Purpose
The benefits of having a pet go beyond physical health markers. Our companion animals also make us feel less lonely and can alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD. This may be due, in part, to the sense of purpose that comes with pet ownership.
Studies have shown that caregiving has many positive mental health benefits. Our pets rely on us for everything—shelter, food, water, and medical care—giving us something bigger than ourselves to care about. This is such an important benefit of having a pet that the National Institute of Mental Health recognizes animal-assisted therapy as a treatment for depression.
Make This Year Your Best One Yet!
Whether you’re a lifelong animal lover or bringing home your first pet, the Pine Point Animal Hospital team is here to help. There’s nothing we love more than supporting the human-animal bond through client education and compassionate veterinary care. From routine preventative care to advanced care and procedures, we’ve got you covered at our full-service veterinary clinic in the heart of Damascus, Oregon.
Get in touch with our team to learn more and book your appointments!