4 Brain Health Benefits of Owning a Pet
The month of November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month. While most people tend to focus on the kittens and puppies, we need to remember that older animals need families, too. Older animals are already trained, taking the difficulty of house training out of the situation. Owning a pet is a big responsibility with routine veterinarian care as well as the daily feeding, grooming, and exercising that is all part of pet ownership. Whether you have a cat, guinea pig, or Labrador – by the way – the most popular dog breed in the US, you already know what a pet can give back through their love and affection for you, but did you know that there are many brain health benefits to owning a pet as well? Brain health benefits of owning a pet include:
- Stress and mood
1. Stress and mood. Having a pet can reduce your stress. Interacting with a pet can have a calming and relaxing effect. In fact, various studies have found that caring for a pet can help us to produce the same “feel good” chemicals that our bodies make when we experience things like falling in love or having a baby. Basically, expect those warm and fuzzy feelings to be the norm whenever you are caring for a pet!
2. Exercise. Pets are a great motivator for humans to get moving. Dogs are especially great for getting outside and going for a walk, which helps to keep the body and brain healthy.
3. Communications. Someone once suggested that 99% of people talk to their pets and the other 1% are lying. Pets seem to be great listeners and whether or not they understand what we say, it’s the company that is important.
4. Challenges. Owning a pet is not easy and each pet comes with their individual challenges. Some pets may be scared of storms, while others may dig through the garbage. We have to put our brains to use in trying to come up with solutions to these challenges.
If you already have a pet (or two or three), you are probably fully aware how caring for a pet benefits your health. If you are considering adding a pet to your family, adopting one from a shelter is always a good option. If you can’t have a pet of your own due to housing or health, watching funny videos of other people’s pets can be a good way to get in your daily laughs, which will help elevate your mood! Long story short, caring for a pet is one of the easiest, and most fun ways to benefit your brain health!