Over the last few years the world has succumb to the conclusion that having pets around helps us de-stress and improves both our physical and mental health.
It’s said that owning a 4-legged friend not only brings about joy and companionship, but also a sense of unconditional love and security. Additionally, taking care of another breathing mortal gives us a daily sense of purpose, which can be beneficial when struggling with mental illness.
These fascinating creatures also spark chemical reactions in our brains. Oxytocin, one of our bodies’ “feel good” chemicals, is boosted both in dog and human when the two stare directly into each other’s eyes. Pets are linked to lower levels of stress-hormone cortisol as well, which is linked to lower levels of blood pressure.
Despite all of this, debunking pets as “medicine”. The study showed that when variables like the size of the home and the household income is taken into consideration, there are no real health differences between pet owners and those without.
Although the study analysed data from more than 5000 households, it had serious limitations and no extensive research has been performed on the long-term effects of owning a pet.
Even if pet ownership is not directly improving our health, it surely signifies the kind of life that leads to it. There’s a reason why schools and airports are bringing in therapy dogs to calm students and passengers. Having a cute doe-eyed pooch around can make anyone’s day seem a little brighter.