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We all love our pets. They vary from cats and dogs to hamsters and horses. An apple a day may or may not keep the doctor away but how about an animal a day?

When it comes to owning a pet there are multiple health benefits including physical and emotional improvements. Pet owners will definitely be aware of how much their furry friend improves their quality of life as well as decreasing depression, stress and anxiety. However, I can almost guarantee that not all pet owners itemised the health benefits of having a pet but wanted a companion or maybe just the thought of having a pet.

The reason why I wanted a pet, in this instance, a dog, was because I felt that I wanted to look after something and they needed me. I do not have my own children and I do not have any plans to have my own offspring but I still wanted that thought of caring for something and their dependence on me. Having said that, I really detest the fact when someone calls my dog a child. Maybe it is just pride or I do actually want my own child…

The purpose of this blog is to highlight the psychological benefits of owning a pet and how much it has changed over the years. It has been scientifically been proven that dogs promote the mental and physical health of their owners. They found that the person’s blood pressure lowered, heart rate slowed, breathing became more regular and muscle tension relaxed all of which are signs of reduced stress. Case studies have also shown that stress-related hormones have significantly reduced in blood samples when tested before and then after interacting with a pet.

Another reason why I got my dog was that at the time I was going through a stressful ordeal and I was at my home more so could spend the time with a puppy to get him house trained and settled into our home environment. I was not taking any medication to deal with the stress but it is interesting to note that by having a pet, these positive psychological effects work a lot faster than many drugs taken for stress. Research has shown that positive effects occurred after only 5 to 24 minutes of pleasantly interacting with the dog. Amazing!

It is important to note also that ‘a dog is for life, not just for Christmas.’ And we do need to spend the time with the animal in order to prevent anxiety issues for them also. A man’s best friend. True for me…is it the same for you?


By Kate Ball

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