Almost two years ago now my son Erik and his wife Kaitlyn (who live in the basement apartment of our home) got a boxer puppy named Milo (see photo above.) Milo quickly made his way into the heart and soul of this family and now NONE of us can imagine how we lived without him. This was a revelation to me because even though I had a dog growing up, ever since I left home for college and beyond, I have been petless. I guess I felt overwhelmed with the job of being a parent, let alone a dog owner. Milo, however, definitely opened my eyes to the benefits of having a pet in the house.
I actually did some research on the benefits of owning a pet and was quite surprised at all the positive aspects there are. Just having them around can influence the well-being of your health, social structure and family life. In fact, after my research I really can’t imagine why anyone would EVER remain petless. :-)
Here are 10 benefits of owning a pet brought to you by our friends (and fellow dog-lovers) at Chippmunk.com, where you can compare deals from stores you love and see where you save the most!
Pets Improve Your Health
According to medical research, owning a dog will help you lead a more active life and this in turn gives your cardiovascular system a boost. Studies have shown that dog owners are far more likely to meet their daily exercise requirements than non-owners. As a result, we see improvements in cholesterol count, blood pressure and a reduction in the use of prescription drugs in people who own pets. Even overall visits to the doctor’s office, especially among people older than 40, are reduced as well.
Pets Improve Your Mood
Another health benefit associated with owning a pet is an improvement in mood and mental well-being. This might be the most important benefit, since many ailments are related to our attitudes and mindsets.
One of the reasons for this benefit is that most pets fulfill the basic human need to touch. Even hardened criminals in prison have shown long-term changes in their behavior after interacting with pets, many of them experiencing mutual affection for the first time. Caring for a living animal also can help make you feel needed and wanted, and take the focus away from your problems.
Pets Ease Pain
Believe it or not, pets can be the best medicine, especially when a person is dealing with chronic pain such as migraines or arthritis. One study from Loyola University found that people who use pet therapy while recovering from surgery may need significantly less pain medication than those who do not.
Pets Help People Socialize
Pets can be a great social lubricant for their owners. Dog owners frequently stop and talk to each other on walks or in a dog park. Pet owners also meet new people in pet stores, clubs, and training classes. An Austrian study found that pet ownership led to an increase in social contact, more socialization within neighborhoods, and even a greater perception to observers that the neighborhood seems ‘friendly.’
Pets Help Children Develop
Children who grow up in a household with pets have an advantage when it comes to emotional development. Pets are also hugely beneficial to children suffering from autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). For children with ADHD, taking care of a pet can encourage them to focus on responsibilities through a predictable routine. While the sensory experience of holding and petting an animal can be soothing for children with autism.
Pets Help with Learning
Educators have long known that bringing therapy animals (mostly dogs) into schools helps developmentally challenged kids learn. Now they are finding that all children can benefit from the presence of a nonjudgmental pet. In one study, children were asked to read in front of a peer, an adult, and a dog. Researchers monitored their stress levels, and found that kids were most relaxed around the animal.
Pets Encourage Nurturing
In our modern world, there’s little opportunity for kids to provide for other living things aside from pets.
A recent research study tracked how much time kids over age 3 spent actively caring for their pets versus caring for younger siblings. Over a 24-hour period, pet-owning kids spent 10.3 minutes in caregiving; those with younger siblings spent only 2.4 minutes.
Pets Prevent Allergies and Improve Immunity
A study at the Medical College of Georgia found that children ages 5 to 7 from pet-owning households attend school three weeks more per year than those who don’t have pets. And the more pets you have earlier in life, the fewer allergies you will develop.
Pets Add Structure To Your Life
Many pets, especially dogs, require a regular feeding and exercise schedule. No matter your mood, you’ll always have to get out of bed to feed, exercise, and care for your pet. Having a pet instills structure into the owner’s life and will set a steady rhythm to each day.
Pets Improve Family Bonds
Anyone who owns a pet knows that a pet quickly becomes a member of the family. A pet is often the focus of activities that families do together. Everyone takes the dog for a walk, or shares in grooming and feeding him, or gets down on the floor and plays with him. There are even benefits from simply watching a cat chase his tail or a fish swim in his tank. Spending time like this helps slow down the hectic pace of modern life.
Pets give us SO MUCH more than I ever even considered…..so I’m honored to be teaming up with Chippmunk.com to offer a special deal on something we can GIVE BACK to our loyal companions.
If you’re one of the 43 million households in the U.S. that own a dog…..here’s an idea for showing “Fido” a little appreciation for all he brings into your life!
Our friends at Chippmunk are offering a special 10% discount to One Good Thing readers for purchasing a subscription to BarkBox. If you love your dog like I love my grandpuppy….you’re not going to be able to resist!
When you sign up for BarkBox, every month you will receive a box in the mail with four or more products and/or presents for your pooch – anything from toys, bones and all-natural treats to hygiene products and fun, new gadgets! Plus, you can order more products, if you like, at a great rate.
In addition, a portion of the proceeds from each box will go to help doggies-in-need. For more on how Chippmunk.com supports animal rescue (and the story of foster dog “Chance” pictured above)….CLICK HERE!