If you have a furry friend in your house, you might be more likely to live a long life than your peers without pets. Owning a cat or a dog doesn’t just mean you have a loyal companion at your side — it gives you a whole host of other benefits as well, and those benefits could help keep you healthy into your golden years. Here’s why adopting a pet can increase your lifespan.
1. Having a pet can make you feel needed.
Pets depend on their owners for everything — food and water, exercise, attention, and love. If you have a pet to take care of, you’re more likely to feel as if you have a sense of purpose in your life. These benefits are especially pronounced for people who live alone or who do not have a strong social network. Having a sense of purpose is also a key element of good health for older adults, people living with a chronic illness, and people who have depression or anxiety. To put it simply, if you feel like your pet needs you, you’re more likely to live a long life for them.
2. People with pets tend to be more active than people without pets.
Your level of physical activity is one of the primary indicators of how long you’ll live. Living a sedentary lifestyle is bad news for your health, while getting plenty of activity can extend your life for years (and improve your quality of those years, too). Pet owners, and dog owners in particular, tend to be more active than people without pets. After all, it’s easier to rationalize skipping your own workout than it is to skip Fido’s walk. And even if you have a smaller pet that stays inside the house, playing with them and refilling their food and water every day will keep you on your feet more than you would have been otherwise.
3. Pets can boost your sense of community.
A person’s level of social involvement has a big impact on their longevity. If you’re shy, consider getting a dog. Dogs are great at breaking the ice with strangers. In fact, having any pet at all gives you something to talk about with other people, especially if they have a pet too. And if you walk your dog around your neighborhood, you’re more likely to end up befriending your neighbors.
4. Having a pet can keep your stress levels down.
Researchers have found that petting a dog can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, which lets you bounce back from stressful events more quickly. If you tend to feel stressed or anxious much of the time, adopting a pet can improve your cardiovascular health by helping you feel more serene.
5. Your pet might help to strengthen your immune system.
Having a dog or cat in the house can give you a stronger immune system. Studies have found that kids who grow up with a pet are less likely to suffer from various illnesses, including asthma. Researchers believe that adults with pets probably benefit in terms of immune health, too.
6. Having a pet can help you sleep better.
If your pet sleeps with you at night, it could actually help you get better-quality sleep. After all, is there anything more comforting than feeling your dog or cat curl up at the foot of your bed? Since your sleep habits impact your well-being so much, this benefit could translate into better overall physical and mental health — and a longer life.
Author Bio: Paige Jirsa- I work with Top10.Today, a shopping comparison site, where we strive to help consumers find the best quality and priced products.