There’s nothing like having a pet to come home to. Even if you’ve been gone for less than an hour, you’re greeted with ecstatic joy and love. Pets are our companions through life, always there to listen and never to judge.
Whether you have a dog, cat, bird or bunny, having a furry companion in your life is endlessly rewarding. From health benefits to important life lessons, here are 6 ways pets enrich our everyday lives.
1. Pets Lower Our Stress Levels
There’s scientific evidence to why it feels so good to pet your furbaby. Research shows that spending time with a pet significantly lowers cortisol levels - the hormone that’s associated with stress. It also lowers your blood pressure and increases oxytocin levels (the love hormone).
No matter the species, your pet can help reduce stress. Certified therapy dogs visit patients in hospitals to share their innate calming ability, cats lower our stress hormones with their purring, and even rabbits have been proven to reduce anxiety levels.
2. Pets Make Us Smile
It’s almost impossible to keep from smiling when your dog rolls over for a belly rub, or your cat chases a laser on the wall. There are significant benefits to having that smile on your face.
Smiling releases all of the “feel good” transmitters - dopamine, serotonin and endorphins. These neurotransmitters relax the body by reducing blood pressure and slowing heart rate. Serotonin lifts mood and fights depression, while endorphins can even help as a natural pain reliever.
3. Pets Give Us a Routine
We all know the feeling of wanting to sleep in, yet rising anyway to let the dog out or feed the cat. While we might find this annoying in the moment, this is another way pets enrich our lives; they give us a reason to get up in the morning.
Our pets give us a routine to stick to. They’ll ask us to take them on a walk or fill their water bowl. They’ll beg for play time or they might need a bath. That routine gives structure to our day and allows us to become more aware of our own needs.
4. Pets Keep Us Active
Taking your dog out for a walk or jog is an enjoyable way to stay fit. Those puppy-dog eyes will get you off the couch and into your walking shoes whether you like it or not. Having your beloved pet with you on a daily walk is far more enjoyable than wandering the neighborhood yourself.
In addition to providing you with a lifted mood and a healthier heart, walking with your dog (or maybe even your cat!) is also great for your pet. It builds a stronger bond between the two of you, keeps them fit and can even curb destructive behavior that stems from boredom.
5. Pets Give Us Companionship
Pets make wonderful best friends. They’re always around, never judgmental and always want to spend time with you. Spending time with your pet radically reduces loneliness, and takes away the anxiety or depression that can often come from solitude.
Having a pet is a two-way relationship. It doesn’t matter how bad you look when you first wake up or if you haven’t achieved your weekly goals - your pet still thinks you’re the greatest person alive.
Through the love they give us, and the love we give in return, our pets provide us with an important lesson in the power of true, unconditional love, and what a lesson that is.
6. Pets Make Every Day a Special One
Sure, sometimes your pet may knock over a houseplant or chew an expensive pillow, but the benefits that come with owning a pet far outweigh the drawbacks. From reducing stress levels to keeping you fit, your pet adds to your quality of life each and every day whether you realize it in the moment or not. Most importantly of all, your pet loves you wholeheartedly - no matter what.