I love animals. I have a dog, Fergie, and a cat, Doris. I also have two horses named Coturnix and Sweet Singing’ Anita. Without fail, they brighten my mood and make my house feel like home. And it’s not just me! Everyone who owns a pet can attest to the benefits of sharing your home with an animal or three:
1) Improved Mood: Pets reduce stress, lessen anxiety, and fight depression. Part of that happens because playing with an animal naturally increases levels of oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine in your brain, calming and relaxing you chemically. In many cases, a positive interaction with an animal actually works faster than taking drugs for stress; studies show positive effects appear within 5 to 24 minutes.
2) Healthy Hearts: Cat owners have a 30% lower risk of death by heart attack than non-cat owners. One reason: petting. Petting an animal’s fur has been repeatedly shown to reduce heart rate and blood pressure. Bottom-line, it means fewer trips to the doctor. Win!
3) Exercise!: This one only applies for dog owners, unless you have a very exceptional guinea pig. Owning a dog means more walks and jogs. It gets you out of the house and into your neighborhood, where you build muscle, improve cardio, and get vitamin D. This also leads to:
4) Meeting Your Neighbors: Pet owners, statistically, have more social interactions than non-pet owners. A happy dog is an automatic ice-breaker. And for the singles, it’s a great way to meet a future date.
5) Happy Kids: Your kids will benefit from an animal in the home. Children who grow up with pets are less likely to develop allergies later in life—by a whopping 50%! Pets also lower a child’s likelihood of having eczema or asthma.
And let’s not forget what all this does for animals!
6) Loving Environment: One lucky animal (or two or three!) gets a home with love, warmth, and regular meals. In a world where far too many people abuse animals, offering your home as a safe place can save a life. We know a few great animal adoption organizations in Seattle that will help you give a rescued animal a new life with a loving family. Our top recommendations: MEOW Cat Rescue, Pasado’s Safe Haven, and PAWS: Progressive Animal Welfare Society.
All these benefits of pet ownership is why we’re hosting a Pet Photo Contest this month! Until the end of October, you can post 1-3 photos of your pets on our Facebook page, and the photo with the most likes wins a $300 VISA gift card!