Eight positive physical and mental side effects of having a pet in the home

By Rita Haney

Who’s really saving who? When you rescue a pet, it’s often praised how much you are doing to help improve their lives. However, research shows a mutual benefit between humans and companion animals. Taking care of a pet can have a positive effect on both your mental and physical health. Here are eight positive effects that having a pet in your home can improve the quality of your life:

1. Companionship: Having a pet in your home with you every day can give you a sense of security and caring for them can help you feel wanted and needed in your daily life. Pets bring about a calming presence and you’re sure to develop a loving bond with one another in no time.

2. Structure and routine: Taking care of an animal adds structure to your day by feeding them, exercising them and simply looking after and loving them. Adding these activities to your daily routine will make your days feel more structured and meaningful.

3. Lower blood pressure and cholesterol: According to the CDC, owning a pet is linked to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Specifically, cat owners are shown to have a lower risk of a heart attack by 30% and a lower risk of a stroke by 40%, research suggests.

4. Physical Activity: Many animals, especially dogs, need regular exercise. This is a great way to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine, and even a short walk each day can add up to your physical health and well-being over time.

5. Calming effects: Having a pet around your home can reduce stress and anxiety. Playing with a furry friend can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax you. Additionally, petting an animal provides sensory stress relief, which in turn can lower blood pressure and can make you feel calmer and less stressed almost instantly.

6. Mood boosting: Pets will bring you their unconditional love and can be great listeners, which can boost your spirits and self confidence. By providing this companionship, these cuddly creatures offset feelings of loneliness and depression.

7. Avoid allergies: Studies have shown that babies who are raised with pets in the home could be less likely to develop allergies and asthma when they get older. This is more likely when the baby is exposed to the family’s pet before they’re six months old.

8. Get connected: Having an animal can be a way to meet people, helping you feel more connected to others. You may find yourself striking up a conversation over mutual ground at a dog park, pet shop or cafe with other pet owners.

It’s clear that having a pet in your home is not a one-sided relationship. Adopting a pet has the power to not only improve the quality of the animal’s life, but yours too! From your mental well-being to your physical health, companion animals will make a positive impact all around. You can see all of Ruff Start’s available adoptable animals at ruffstartrescue.org.

a woman holding a puppy and smiling at the camera