Have you ever wanted a puppy or kitten running around your home? Or have a little animal that you can play and cuddle with? I’m sure many of us have shared these thoughts, but parents know caring for a pet can be a lot of work. In a sense, they are right. Having a pet is a huge responsibility: you have to feed, play, and spend a lot of time with them. However, any animal lover will tell you that the unconditional love animals offer far outweigh any set backs. Animals decrease stress, improve health conditions, and help people socialize.
One of the best benefits of having a furry friend is the stress relief. In 2002, researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo conducted a study. They found that when performing a stressful task, people experienced less stress when their pets were with them, even more so than when they were with a spouse, family member, or even a close friend. Pets are even used in guidance offices, hospitals, and rehab centers to help relieve patients of stress. Pets are extremely close to our hearts, and spending time with them can take our mind off of a tough day or problem we are facing. They are always waiting excitedly at the door for us when we come home, making us feel better both mentally and emotionally.
Additionally, having a pet can be extremely beneficial to health. Pets have proven that they lower blood pressure and cholesterol, ease pain, prevent strokes, and monitor blood sugar levels for diabetics. Pets lower the blood pressure that results from stress. According to the Center for Disease Control, we live a healthier lifestyle by being responsible for a living creature, and as a consequence, our cholesterol levels are lowered. One study from Loyola University found that people who use pet therapy while recovering from surgery might not need a pain medication that is as strong as those who don’t use pet therapy. Furthermore, Dr. Becker, a veterinary consultant for Good Morning America, and author of the upcoming book Your Dog: The Owner’s Manual states, “If you
have a cat, you’re 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack, and you’re 40 percent less likely to have a cardiovascular incident like a stroke. If you have a heart attack and you have a dog, you are [significantly more] likely to be alive a year later.” If you’re still struggling to completely grasp how many health benefits pets have at this point, the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Forecast magazine states that a study in 1992 found that one-third of the pets living with diabetics (mostly dogs, but other pets included cats, birds, and rabbits) would change their behavior when their owner’s blood sugar level dropped. Why do their behaviors change? They change because animals can sense a chemical change in their owner bodies, and since they love us unconditionally, will try their best to let us know.
To wrap things up, another benefit that pets have on people’s lives is the impact they have on owners’ social lives. According to Michael Landa, CEO of natural pet food brand Nulo, owning a dog actually increases opportunities for people to socialize. Owners go to local dog parks, or take their pets out for walks, which allow them to meet and interact with other animal lovers. Pets can also be a great conversation starter, or even a good topic to turn to in the middle of a conversation when situations get awkward.
Ultimately, many people couldn’t live without their pets. Pets are cute, funny, and loving. And with the many proven benefits, it is a no-brainer to try and convince your parents to adopt your new best friend.
By: Emily Gyongyosi’19, Staff Writer