Did you know that pets can help us heal emotionally, physically, and mentally?

Scientists have discovering that cats and dogs can help fight disease and assist us in coping with chronic conditions. In fact, pets have a biochemical impact on an owners’ body chemistry and here are the top five reasons why our furry friends help keep us happy and healthy – enjoy!

Pain relief
Pets can alleviate pain such as chronic migraines or arthritis. Spending time with a pet is likely to reduce anxiety and therefore people who use pet therapy while recovering from surgery may need significantly less pain medication than those who do not.

Paw off the blues
The antics of our furry friends are sure to bring us a laugh even during tough times. In fact, a survey has shown that pet owners with a chronic illness were less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets. Coming home to a pet that loves you unconditionally and gives you affection no matter how bad a day you’ve had really does lighten your mood.

Exercise
While this one mainly applies to dog owners, it’s a big one. Rain, hail or shine, you know the weather doesn’t stop your pooch from needing a run in the park. By forcing you outside, your dog is dramatically improving your health by helping you get fresh air, natural light and cardio-vascular exercise. It's a win-win situation!

Socialising 
This one often goes hand-in-hand with exercising. If you’re out and about with your dog you are very likely to run in to like-minded pet lovers and if you are new to a community, this is a great way to meet people and – get the latest gossip too.

Heart-health
If you’re stressed you could be producing harmful chemicals like cortisol and norepinephrine that can negatively affect the immune system. Studies show a link between these chemicals and plaque buildup in arteries which can signal the beginning of heart disease. Combat stress with some one-on-one time with a pet and enjoy the elevated levels of serotonin and dopamine; nerve transmitters that are known to have pleasurable and calming properties.

Note
Before purchasing a pet seriously consider how much spare time you currently have in your life and if you are willing to make some compromises. At the end of the day, animals are social beings and require you to take good care of them.

Considering adopting a pet? Go to rspca.org.au