It's no secret that animals can be a source of joy and contentment. Research has demonstrated that petting a dog can reduce cortisol, the hormone associated with stress, while social interaction between people and their canine companions increases levels of oxytocin, the hormone associated with well-being. Studies have also revealed that dogs can help to reduce stress, anxiety and depression, alleviate loneliness, motivate exercise and improve overall health. Simply playing with a dog has been shown to increase levels of oxytocin and dopamine, brain chemicals that make us feel good, creating positive feelings and bonds for both the person and the pet.
People who own pets are usually happier, more trusting, and less lonely than those who don't. Owning a pet is beneficial and comforting only for those who love and appreciate animals and have the time and money to keep a pet happy and healthy. For those who have been diagnosed with a pet allergy, it is important to consider carefully if you can live with the symptoms before you commit to having a pet. Additionally, keep in mind that some friends or family members with allergies may no longer be able to visit your home if you have a pet.
While people who have pets tend to be happier, more independent and feel more secure than those who don't have pets, it's important to select the type of pet that best suits their needs and lifestyle. It is true that people with pets tend to experience greater health benefits than those who don't, but a pet doesn't necessarily have to be a dog or a cat. There are many other animals that can provide companionship and comfort.