And while many owners feels that the friendship of a dog makes them happy, there is some science to back up the smiles – with the production of serotonin said to be increased and stress reduced after just half an hour with a pet. Blood pressure and cholesterol can be reduced too – with studies finding that those with pets tend to have lower blood pressure and are less likely to have high cholesterol. And this is before we even consider the health benefits associated with walking your dog every day! My dog makes great company on my evening jogs, and seeing him enjoy himself makes them seem much quicker and less tiring.
There are even now studies which suggest that the risk of childhood allergies can be reduced in households with pets. Making way for the other benefits pets can provide children as they grow up – with young people who live with pets said to be more motivated than those without them.
Of course, a pet’s benefits can’t be purely one sided. A lot of time and money is involved in their care, but I think this only adds to the wellbeing of a pet owner. This is the unproven part of this article – but since pets often become part of the family, many people find it enjoyable to see their dog run free in the park, or watch them tuck in to a bowl of nutritionally balanced (even if not the cheapest) food. I don’t see looking after my two year old Dalmatian as a chore, instead as a rewarding part of my life that comes hand in hand with having a healthy, fun companion – who could just be improving my health by making me happier in the long-term.