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10 Health Benefits Of Adopting A Pet; Especially For Kids And The Elderly

More than one million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized every year simply because too many pets enter shelters and too few people consider adoption when looking for a pet. Every year, shelters take in millions of abused, stray, and lost animals, and by adopting one, you make room for others. Your adoption will not only give more animals a second chance, but the cost of your adoption will directly help shelters care for the animals they take in.

Animals don't just love you unconditionally; they also benefit you psychologically, emotionally and physically. Being a pet parent can provide a sense of purpose and fulfilment and lessen loneliness. Don't forget that you're helping an animal in need when you adopt.

Here are some of the health benefits of adopting a pet.


Health Benefits Of Adopting A Pet

Owning a pet can be a lot of work, but research suggests it can also offer health benefits. However, it is important to keep in mind that the majority of studies on the effects of pets on human health are observational, meaning that they suggest a link between these two factors rather than a cause-and-effect relationship [1][2].

Having a pet has many health benefits. They provide us with opportunities to be active, to be outdoors, and socialize. Walking or playing with pets regularly can lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. In addition, companion animals can help us cope with loneliness and depression [3].


1. May Help Improve Mental Health

Social and emotional connections with pets can positively influence mood and health. Observational research shows that pets can provide comfort to people with mental health conditions [4].

Several studies have found that dog ownership benefits veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition, pet ownership is generally associated with greater emotional stability. An increase in meaning and purpose was also associated with owning a pet [5][6].

2. Can Boost Feel-Good Hormones

According to some studies, petting can have a hormonal benefit for the person doing it. Petting your furry kids is associated with higher levels of oxytocin, the feel-good hormone, and lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. In addition, it may boost the release of oxytocin and endorphins, which can help decrease feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, and social isolation [7].

3. Aids Childhood Development

Children's emotional development plays a crucial role in their ability to become healthy adults. Pets have also benefited children, especially those with developmental challenges. ADHD patients tend to focus better on a predictable routine, which pets provide. For children with autism, petting an animal can be soothing, and they have greater social skills [8]. Animals can be great for children's development, whether a cat, dog, or guinea pig.


4. May Help Prevent Loneliness

Despite the lack of robust scientific research on the subject, pet owners claim that their pets prevent them from feeling lonely anecdotally. According to a report, 80 per cent of pet owners believe their pets make them feel less lonely [9].

5. Can Help Boost Your Physical Activity

Regular, daily walks are essential for all dog breeds to remain healthy and happy. The walks can increase opportunities for exercise, access to fresh air, and socialization. In addition, a regular walk or play with your pet can lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides. You can also take your cat out for a walk after leash-train them [10].

6. For The Elderly

A study found that Alzheimer's patients have fewer anxious outbursts if they have an animal at home. Pets also make caregivers feel less burdened, particularly if it is a cat, which generally requires less care than a dog [11].

7. Good For The Heart

Several studies have shown that heart attack patients with pets live longer than those without. In addition, researchers have found that pet owners have fewer signs of heart disease and lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels than non-owners [12].


8. Lower Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

According to the CDC, pets can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, especially those with hypertension or high cholesterol. In addition, research suggests cat owners have a 30 per cent lower risk of heart attacks and 40 per cent lower risk of strokes.

9. Improved Immunity and Allergy Prevention

Children's immune systems can benefit from having a dog in their early years and their allergies. For example, a pet in the home has been found to reduce a child's allergy risk by 33 per cent. In addition, pet dander is believed to be natural immunotherapy for infants and children [13].

10. May Catch Cancer Signs Early

Dogs have a keen sense of smell, but did you know that some canines can detect cancer? There have been reports of dogs saving pet owners' lives after discovering they were constantly pawing at, sniffing or even licking a tumour hidden beneath the skin [14].


On A Final Note…

If more people adopted pets instead of buying them, the number of euthanized animals would decrease dramatically. When you adopt an animal, you save a loving animal and open up shelter space for another animal that might desperately need it.

In addition to providing unconditional love, animals are psychologically, emotionally, and physically beneficial for their companions. The care of a pet can provide a sense of purpose and fulfilment and reduce feelings of loneliness. As an added bonus, you can feel good about helping a homeless animal when you adopt!

Story first published: Friday, May 13, 2022, 15:25 [IST]
Read more about: pets adoption mental health benefits