April is National Pet Month, a celebration of the joy that pets bring into people’s lives. Studies show that there are many benefits of having an animal companion:
Lower stress levels
Pets have been found to lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in our bodies, leading to a calmer approach to life. Studies show that if you own a pet, you’re also less likely to suffer from clinical depression.
Lower blood pressure
Petting your cat or dog helps your body release a relaxation hormone which can lower your blood pressure. Dog owners also walk more and due to the increased exercise, have lower blood pressure than people who don't have dogs.
Better emotional health
A 2001 study, reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found that pet owners have higher self-esteem, are more extroverted and less lonely, are less preoccupied, and less fearful of everyday life challenges.
Helps you socialise
Going outside for a walk with your dog can lead to increased social interaction and a sense of connection with your community, which can improve your mood and reduce your stress levels.
Companionship and love
If you live alone, pets can help stave off loneliness and encourage feelings of responsibility as you’re caring for another being.