A recent study has shown that people who have dogs have longer life expectancies than people who have no pets at all. While this particular study showed that having a dog can increase your life span, having any animal in general actually offers a number of health benefits. Pets do so much more than enrich our lives; they can truly improve our health. Check out just three of the main ways that having a pet can improve your health!
1. They Make You More Active
The most obvious way that having a pet improves your health is by increasing your activity level. We’re not just talking about taking your dog for a walk. Even with their most basic needs, animals get you moving! You have to get up and feed them at certain times. You have to let the dog out to go to the bathroom. You have to clean the cat’s litter box. These may seem like little things, but they all add steps to your day. It’s just that much more movement that you wouldn’t have had otherwise, and obviously increased activity is great for heart health and weight loss.
2. They Improve Your Mood
The best thing about animals is that they lift our spirits. This is exactly why therapy animals are used in hospitals – to bring the patients joy and solace in some of their hardest times. Having a pet brings this very concept right into your home. Pets can make you feel happier on your saddest days and bring you peace at times of unrest. When it has been proven that negative emotions can have a detrimental effect on your health, having a pet around to boost your mood can help you steer clear of certain medical issues.
3. They Help You Get Better Sleep
You may be surprised by this one, but having a pet actually helps you get better sleep. While you may imagine that having a pet forces you to get up earlier or wake up in the middle of the night if they need something, you still get more sleep just by having one. It could be that taking care of them makes you more tired and likely to sleep deeper or perhaps their mere presence puts your body at ease. A recent study showed that people with dogs sleep better than those without dogs. The study even specified that people who allow their dogs to sleep in the bed get the best quality sleep of all. (No, a dog did not write this study…)