To celebrate National Pet Month this April, we’ve put together a list of seven important ways dogs and cats enrich our lives and why we advocate responsible and loving pet ownership. Having a pet is great – for reasons you might not even have realised…
Pets can improve our blood pressure and boost our mood
Stroking and petting animals has repeatedly been shown to reduce blood pressure and alleviate feelings of stress. Research shows that just 15 minutes stroking or playing with your pet can help to reduce levels of cortisol (the ‘stress hormone’) and increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, which improve our mood.
Pets help us see the wood for the trees
It’s not only a physical thing – it’s a mental thing too. Having a pet can remind us to enjoy the small pleasures in life (such as going for a walk, playing a game or seeing the people we love), as well as to see the big picture when the going gets tough. They remind us that life goes on.
Pets are people magnets
In a world where it seems like people interact less than they used to, owning a pet has a way of drawing people to us. Being out and about with your dog will inevitably attract dog-lovers and even when your pet isn’t with you, a shared interest in animals gives you plenty to talk about.
Pets can boost immunity
Think families with allergies shouldn’t have pets? Not necessarily. Some studies have shown that babies and children brought up in households with animals demonstrate a stronger immune system and fewer allergies than children brought up without pets. Just be sure to seek out expert advice before making any decisions - it’s important to choose the right pet for your home and family.
Dogs help people live more independent lives
Service dogs and assistance dogs help support thousands of people in the UK who have disabilities, mental illnesses, mobility impairments, sight problems or experience seizures. Everyday these amazing dogs help people live fuller, safer and more independent lives.
Pets show us love…
The simplicity of a pet’s love is something amazing – as pet owners, we often love our pets as much as we love humans. Interestingly, numerous studies have shown that oxytocin, the same hormone that plays a role in human trust, altruism and maternal bonding, is also involved in the relationship between dogs and their owners. Hardly surprising we feel so strongly then!
… And make us feel less lonely
Having a pet means we never come home to an empty house. Pets can be a point of stability in our life when lots of other things might be changing. Looking after our pets can even add another dimension of meaning and purpose to our lives and contribute to our self-esteem.