We feed them, clean them, play with them, and even talk to them. We love our pets and, in many ways, they love us back. Pets provide us companionship, comfort, and amusement. What we don’t realize is how beneficial these adorable animals can be to our physical and mental well-being. This May, celebrate National Pet Month by learning about the positive effects of caring for a furry friend.
1. Reduce Stress
After a difficult day, a pet can be just the thing to lift up your spirits. Research shows that people performing stressful tasks were more relaxed when accompanied by their pets. Spending time with a pet dog or cat induces physical changes in our bodies that enhance our mood. Cortisol levels are lowered and serotonin, a hormone associated with happiness, is increased.
2. Prevent Allergies
Studies reveal that children who grow up in a home with furry pets, such as cats and dogs, develop fewer allergies than those who don’t. Even kids who grow up on farms with large, domestic animals have less risk of allergies and asthma. This suggests that exposure to dirt and allergens at an early age strengthens a child’s immune system. This immunity boosting effect, however, only develops in children and does not affect adults with existing allergies.