It is often said that our surroundings can have a huge impact on our mood and state of mind. The effects that our environment can have on us are definitely tangible; surrounding yourself with positive and forward-thinking people may improve your state of mind just as much as negativity may cause you to feel hopeless or in despair.
Regardless of your current situation, having friends, family members and allies alongside you can make a substantial difference in how you navigate various challenges and day-to-day situations. While we may often consider relationships with people, there is just as much reason to consider the effects that pet ownership can have on our mood and well-being.
Having a pet in the home can present a variety of responsibilities and challenges, but there are numerous benefits to enjoy as well. As such, let’s explore some examples of how pet ownership can improve your quality of life.
Pets Can Improve Your Mood
Everybody has good and bad days. It’s perfectly natural to feel a tad blue or depressed during colder months or throughout particularly lonely periods. However, having a companion in the home who can alleviate these moody situations is perfectly possible via pet ownership.
A wide variety of ailments and conditions can impact overall mood, including mental factors. Diet, sleep and physical activity are among the most influential physical factors that influence how we feel. Despite this, there is ample evidence to suggest that owning a cat or dog can substantially reduce stress points that otherwise lead to bad moods and behavioural changes.
Sometimes, something as simple as having a smiling, happy face waiting on you when you return from work is enough to change your demeanour. These pets can also be reliable companions and recurring sources of attention for owners who may feel isolated, lonely or otherwise frustrated with day-to-day life.
Pets Can Reduce Anxiety & Increase Life Expectancy
Maintaining a clear mind and a healthy body is crucial to maximising life expectancy and enjoying the most of each day. It isn’t necessarily uncommon for our bodies to undergo stress or our minds to create obstacles that affect physical health, but awareness of these situations can make them easier to handle.
For those who have cats and/or dogs, one key quality of life improvement they provide is an alleviation of anxiety. Just from petting or stroking your favourite pet, relaxation helps calm the mind and reduce the root causes of anxiety in that given situation.
It might also surprise you that dog owners specifically live longer lives than those without pets in the home. Published by the American Heart Association, one study highlighted that the chances of dying from any particular cause are reduced by roughly 25% just from having a dog in the home.
As such, healthcare for your pet may serve as a form of healthcare for you as well. Some people may not have the ability to pay out of pocket for pricey vet bills, which is why pet insurance is a worthwhile consideration. Through insurance providers such as Every Paw, pet owners can obtain pet insurance plans with different coverage levels. The pet insurance provider offers both Maximum Benefit and Lifetime Cover choices: these choices may minimise vet expenses for your furry friend.
Pets Can Help You Exercise
Increasingly, people in the UK are not getting enough exercise: roughly 1 in 3 citizens are not getting enough daily exercise, according to the World Health Organisation. Many people would volunteer that they could be exercising more each day, but finding the motivation and energy to do so is often quite challenging.
With a pet in the home, you can find new methods of getting additional exercise. From daily walks with your canine companion to chasing kittens around the house, pets provide an outlet for owners to expend energy that might otherwise go to our waistlines. Given that just 30 minutes per day of walking can burn approximately 100 calories, a daily regimen can quickly add up in terms of shedding weight and improving muscle strength in your body.
Pets Can Lower Chances of Diseases
As we age, a huge impact on quality of life relates to physical health: the number of ailments that affect us can gradually reduce our mobility, cognition and enjoyment of life’s little pleasures. As such, it goes without saying that any action that can reduce the chances of many common diseases is worth considering.
Pet ownership is one such action that may have profound impacts in the realm of personal health. As has already been mentioned, pet ownership can reduce anxiety. However, pets can also lower blood pressure, bolster immune system response and even reduce the chance of heart disease.
With these effects known, investing in pet ownership seems like a wise decision – especially for those who have a predisposition to such diseases. While there is no guarantee that owning a pet will eliminate your chances of suffering from these diseases, studies suggest promising findings (and there are plenty of other reasons mentioned here that justify pet ownership as well).
Pets Can Enhance Your Social Life
One key component to a better quality of life is having social connections. Friends, family members, co-workers and acquaintances all provide some aspects of this need, but we can always use more friends.
Owning a dog, for example, can open up new possibilities for social interaction. In addition to the increased opportunities of meeting new people while walking your four-legged friend, dog owners can also organise pet play dates, visit dog parks and even connect with fellow pet owners via social media.
People also find it easier to build connections when one or more people in a social situation have a dog alongside them. In communities, walkability and green spaces can make it easier for dog owners to meet new people while exercising their pets. The additional benefit of making new friends can further improve an owner’s quality of life.
Our pets are special creatures to us – but they aren’t just cute playthings. Dogs and cats in particular provide an array of benefits to owners that improve quality of life for people of all ages. From mitigating disease to improving mood and enhancing social situations, having a pet could be the easiest change for the better that a person makes in their life.