We all know that having a furry or feathered friend around the house can be a tonic to the soul. With their cute looks and funny personalities, these animal additions to your household become a valued member of the family. Children growing up with a pet can also learn valuable skills around caring for an animal and taking responsibility – a pet is a friend for life.
Most pet lovers don’t need convincing that their companion offers them emotional support. From someone to cuddle when you’re sitting down in the evening, to a beloved playmate for a child, your pet will be involved in every aspect of your life. But what exactly are the specific emotional benefits of owning a pet? Let’s take a look.
If you’ve ever seen a cute puppy and felt a rush of happiness, you’re not alone. Studies have shown that pet owners have lower blood pressure than those who don’t have an animal companion. This has even been shown to work on people with borderline hypertension, so everyone can reap the benefits. While lowered blood pressure is a physical benefit, it will also help you feel calmer. (Photo by Andrew Schultz on Unsplash)
Additionally, pets decrease our levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and increase levels of the calming and happiness hormones serotonin and dopamine. Of course, pets can also help distract us from our worries too, and provide a much-needed opportunity to have a break from what’s going on around us.
Help with confidence
Especially for children, pets are the perfect friend. It’s not uncommon to see children talking to their pets, and telling them all about their lives. Both children and adults may find that pets make the ideal confidant, as they have a nonjudgemental listening ear and no social expectations.
Pets can also help in social situations, if you struggle with going to new places, or meeting new people. Instead of having to worry about what you’ll do when you’re there, you can sit and fuss with your pet until you’re ready to get up and speak to the people around you. Pets can also act as an icebreaker, with new people approaching you to ask to stroke your animal, and therefore avoiding the need for you to introduce yourself.
Pets make great companions, especially if you like the comfort of having them follow you around your house. Additionally, a dog in particular can help you get out of the house and on a walk, which can be beneficial if you live alone, or find it difficult to motivate yourself to get outside. This can lead to you simply saying “hello” to other people, which builds a sense of connection – you may even meet some other local dog owners who you then start to see regularly. In fact, pet owners are 60% more likely than non-pet owners to connect with people in their neighborhood.
It’s perfectly normal to talk to your pet, and as previously mentioned, you may find that they offer a silent listening ear. But they can also be helpful if you’re nervous about being at home alone, or find the silence lonely. Even hearing a pet moving around the house can help you feel like there is someone with you. If you’re not used to living alone for whatever reason, this can ease the transition into solo living.
To sum up
Pets are valued companions to adults and children of all ages and backgrounds. They become cherished members of the family and can make you feel less stressed, more confident and help you form social connections. They also bring joy and happiness to your home – what’s not to love?
Guest Author: Elizabeth earned a bachelor’s degree in English Language. She adores animals and currently owns a three-year-old Persian cat. She enjoys creating thoughtful blogs that provide readers with actionable takeaways.