Animal companionship can directly influence and benefit physical, social, and emotional health. Pets and animals offer great social support while also encouraging more social activity. Animal relationships invite bonding without the elements of interpersonal stress associated with human interactions.
Even interacting with local pups on walks, hearing the birds singing, and seeing the squirrels at play have a positive impact on our senses and wellbeing.
Animal companionship has been proven to make people feel more relaxed and decrease stress. In stressful situations it can even improve heart health by lowering blood pressure, regulating the heart rate and returning raised heart rates and blood pressure to normal more quickly. There is evidence that having a dog in the room lowers blood pressure better than taking some types of blood pressure medication. A study was conducted wherein individuals completed a math task with or without animal companionship; results showed those with pet pals present were less likely to have heart rate and blood pressure spikes while performing the task and completed the math with less error (so take the pup next time you do taxes!)
You can still enjoy animal companionship without the commitment of pet ownership by joining a dog-walking program, visiting a cat shelter or cafe for cuddles, or volunteering with a local stable to interact with animals. Here’s to embracing the animal kingdom!