Research has proven that there are many health benefits of owning a pet- physically as well as mentally. Pet owners all over the world will agree that life is just not the same without a furry, feathered, scaly or slimy companion!

Did you know that there are around 24 million pets in Australia? One of the highest rates in the world! Dogs are the most popular pet followed by- you guessed it- cats. Birds, fish, pocket pets and reptiles are also popular pets.

What are the benefits of owning a pet?

Physical benefits– when a pet, in particular a dog, is owned by a single person or by a whole family, research has proven that these owners are more active. Families are more active together and children who own a pet are more active through play. Pet owners in general spend more time in the great outdoors and less time doing sedentary activities.

Owning a pet can nourish your cardiovascular health– pet owners may maintain a healthy blood pressure as animals have a soothing affect on people therefore naturally improving one’s ability to cope in stressful situations. Daily activities are usually increased if you own a pet, such as a brisk walk with your dog to a crazy play session – a major benefit for heart health. Researchers also found that cholesterol and triglyceride levels are lower in pet owners than non pet owners, they are not entirely sure as to why this is!

There are multiple positive mental health benefits when interacting with an animal, they make us happy- stroking and playing with them triggers the release of chemicals in the brain which make you feel good! Pet owners are said to experience less stress, anxiety and depression, are overall happier which leads to a higher self esteem.

Pet companionship in children can aid in the development of their ability to nurture, empathise, and teaches them responsibility. Kids growing up with pets in the household are said to have a stronger immune system and are less likely to develop certain allergies. In teens pets can help with depression, loneliness and reduce stress levels – they provide unconditional love and companionship.

Companionship is the number one reason people own a pet! The elderly and people who live alone benefit greatly from from owning a pet.

Owning a pet can improve socialisation and break down conversation barriers.

We cannot forget the amazing work our assistance and therapy dogs do! They are eyes for the blind, remind people to take medication, identify and prevent medical emergencies, provide emotional and social support, help people relax and reduce stress in certain situations, bring so much happiness and provide relief to people who have experienced unimaginable trauma.

Above all we at Ourimbah Vet advocate responsible pet ownership.

According to the Australian Veterinary Association 53% of Australians say they would like a new pet but many are unable to due to various reasons some of those being: the cost of owning a pet, unsuitable living arrangements or an unsuitable life style all of which make it difficult to fulfil the responsibilities of owning a pet.  There is a lot to consider when deciding on which pet is right for you- if at all -and definitely a decision to be made with careful consideration. Pets need a lot of love, time, training, health care, food and grooming- just to name a few of the responsibilities that come with owning a pet. If you are not in a position to take on the responsibility but would love animals in your life- there are many rescue organisations you may be able to provide assistance to on a regular basis, a friend’s dog you may be able to take for a daily walk or cat you can pat!