Bringing a pet into your family can be a big decision. You have to take into account how your children, spouse, and even grandparents will respond to it. Plus, pets can be a big responsibility. However, there are a number of physical and health benefits to owning a pet that won't just benefit you, but your entire family.
Benefit for Kids
As a parent, you know there's a lot of time, effort, and patience involved in owning a pet, which might make you hesitant toward letting your kids own one. However, the effort of owning a pet can benefit your kids in ways you might not have thought about:
- Owning a cat or dog may lower the chance of your kids developing allergies and asthma later in life.
- Having your child walk your dog or care for your animal outside is a great way to keep your kids active.
- For younger children, interacting with a pet can significantly improve motor skills.
- If you're a busy parent, having a pet in the home can help your children reduce feelings of loneliness.
- Studies have shown that children who grow up with pets display improved impulse control and social skills. They also have higher levels of self-esteem.
Benefits for Adults
Whether you have a long day the office, your kids are out of control, or it's just a bad day, having a furry friend in your home can help alleviate those negative feelings. Along with boosting your emotional health, your animal pal can benefit your physical health as well:
- If you get a dog, you're going to have to walk it. And those walks can really add up. One study showed that dog owners were 34 percent more likely to achieve the recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week than non-dog owners. Not only can dogs get you out and walking, but they can make you more active, overall.
- Both the NIH and the CDC have found that owning a furry companion decreases blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Each of these lowers the risk of having a heart attack.
- With everything you've got going on in life, you're likely to feel stressed. Having a pet can help you lower your stress and generally feel happier.
- Having an animal buddy can help you manage feelings of depression or loneliness. Your pet offers you continuous companionship, unconditional love, and gives you a sense of purpose. All of which can help improve your overall mental health.
- According to Micah Pratt, marketing manager of Business.org, many employers are gradually letting people bring their furry friends to work to combat workplace stress. She says that she has seen an improvement in company moral, workplace stress, and culture in companies that do this.
- Whether you like it or not, having a pet can make you more social. Taking your pet for a walk, going to the park, or visiting the vet creates an opportunity for you to meet new people and make new friends.
Benefits for Grandparents
You're never too old to have a little buddy in the home. If you have a senior-citizen in your family, there are a number of amazing health benefits a pet can bring them:
- Many experts recommend pets for seniors since pets can help seniors find meaning and joy in life. A furry or feathered friend will help seniors feel a sense of purpose as they care for it and develop a relationship.
- For seniors, staying connected to people can become difficult. Having a pet allows seniors to meet and interact with new people, which can help them feel connected to others.
- Thieves are less likely to break into a house with a barking dog behind the door. For seniors living alone, this can bring feelings of protection.
- Seniors can experience a lot of aches and pains as they age. Having a pet can ease chronic pain and arthritis. Petting, handling, or playing with a pet can help to ease stiff joints and provide relief.
- When seniors become empty nesters, they can experience feelings of loneliness or depression. Having a pet in the home can help combat these feelings and help seniors feel happier.
Having a furry friend in the home can be therapeutic and beneficial for your entire family. From getting your entire family outside and exercising to helping alleviate feelings of stress or loneliness, animals can help boost the overall well-being of your whole family.
Written by Hilary Thompson for The Healthy Moms Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.