Owning a pet costs money and comes with responsibility. But it also contributes to one’s sense of belonging and purpose. Pet ownership can markedly improve quality of life, and some pets even promote better physical health. If you’re trying to decide whether to bring a pet home to your apartment, here are some compelling benefits to consider.
1. Reduce stress and anxiety
When you’re stressed, few things can calm you down like petting, playing, or cuddling with a faithful four-legged friend. This is because playing with pets increases production of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decreases production of cortisol, which contributes to stress. For similar reasons, pet ownership can also ease anxiety, and mitigate chronic pain aggravated by anxiety.
2. Improve social life
A pet is a companion who doubles as a playful people magnet. After bringing home a pet, you may find that strangers act friendlier toward you when you’re with your pet than when you’re alone. You’re also likely to receive more smiles and offers for assistance if your hands are full or you otherwise appear to need help.
3. Keep your heart healthy
According to the Center for Disease Control, pet ownership is associated with lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. With these vitals under control, people are at lower risk for heart attack and stroke.
4. Detect low blood sugar
People have long believed that loyal pets know when their owners are unwell. Scientific research not only supports this. It also suggests that in some cases pets can identify health issues even before their owners are aware of them. Dogs, cats, birds, and rabbits have been known to change their behavior when an owner’s blood sugar level drops.
5. Boost mood
Considering the aforementioned benefits of pet ownership, this may seem intuitive. Stress, anxiety, feelings of loneliness, and poor health can all have a negative impact on one’s mood. It’s no wonder pets are increasingly used for various forms of therapy.
6. Achieve fitness goals
Do you aim to walk 10,000 steps every day but have trouble meeting your goal? If so, owning a pet that requires exercise and active attention can help you stay fit. Dogs are especially good at helping their owners stay in shape, as they need to be walked and played with multiple times a day.
7. Prevent allergies and build immunity in children
Research suggests that young children who grow up around pets are less likely to develop allergies than their peers. They also get sick less often and miss fewer days of school per year. Having a family pet early on can also aid with a child’s emotional and cognitive development.
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