It’s National Pet Month, a chance to celebrate our furry and feathered friends and spread the word about responsible animal ownership. According to statistics experts Statista, almost one in two households in the UK has a pet, with dogs being the most popular – more than a quarter of homes have at least one pooch. And, interestingly, more households in the UK own a snake than mice!
But did you realise that animals are also exceedingly good for your wellbeing? Here are just some of the many health benefits of pets:
1. Pets are good for your physical health
If you’re one of Britain’s many dog owners, chances are you lead a pretty healthy lifestyle, with all those walkies decreasing your risk of stroke and heart disease and lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. It’s also thought that animals boost your immune system, while being around pets from a young age can lower the risk of allergies. And if you live with chronic pain or are recovering from illness or surgery, studies in America have shown that animals can ease symptoms significantly, as being around them reduces anxiety, which, in turn decreases pain.
2. Pets are great for mental wellbeing
Animals can be extremely comforting. Curling up on the sofa with your faithful friend reduces stress and anxiety and improves your mood. They are also invaluable in combating loneliness; not only do you have someone to chat to every day, but pet owners are also more likely to get out of the house – either for a walk in the park or to pop to the pet shop – thus increasing social interaction with others. One of the ways you can help someone with dementia is also ensuring that they spend time with an animal.
3. Animals are a lifeline if you have a disability
Assistance companion animals can be life changing for people with a disability or visual impairment. The organisationGuide Dogs enables 360,000 people who are registered blind or partially sighted and two million people living with sight loss to lead independent and fulfilling lives, while Assistance Dogs UK provides a benchmark for high-quality training of dogs to perform specific tasks. In addition, therapy dogs enhance the lives of many as part of therapeutic activities and visits.
4. Taking your pet to work is good for you – and business!
Pets in the workplace can give a real boost to staff happiness and motivation – as well as your bottom line! If a member of staff needs a little extra support, bringing his or her dog to work can be more productive than taking time off, while animals in the workplace reduce stress and can really benefit team spirit – there’s no better conversation starter, after all!
The important thing here is to make sure all members of your team are happy with arrangements and that there’s no scope for lively animals to disrupt client meetings – or cause a mess! Whether you’re an employer or employee, Purina’s handy Pets at Work guide should provide the purr-fect solution!
5. Animals can sense when you’re ill
Studies have shown that canines can detect some cancers in humans – including bladder, colorectal, breast and prostate cancer – due to changes in the smell of urine and even our breath. Dogs are already being used to detect changes in the blood sugar levels of diabetics, while researchers also believe dogs can sense malaria, even in people displaying no symptoms.
Even in the case of mild colds and other common ailments, many pet owners swear that their animals know when they’re feeling under the weather and give them extra comfort – and what could be better than that!
We’ve got all kinds of health tips and advice in our news articles – take a look! And to find out more about the family benefits of a health cash plan, chat to our team on 01633 266152.