National Best Friends Day is quickly approaching on June 8th.  Are you and your pet ready to celebrate? As pet owners, we have a lot to be thankful for when it comes to the animals we care for. Not only do they bring us sheer joy in our daily lives, but there are also many health benefits to having a pet as a companion. Owning an animal comes with its own set of challenges and responsibilities, but it’s a rewarding experience nonetheless and they often become a huge part of our family. From physical to mental and emotional health, companion animals can improve our health in many different ways without us even realizing it.

Here are just some of the ways companion animals help improve our health.

They provide opportunities for exercise

If you own a dog, we’re sure you’re already well aware of the amount of exercise that comes with having one. Not only is exercise important for the wellbeing of your dog, but it’s also important for your wellbeing as well. Dog walks are a great way to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. It’s a win-win for you and your dog! Some of the physical health benefits you’ll reap from having a companion animal include decreased blood pressure, decreased cholesterol levels and decreased triglyceride levels. So next time you’re dreading going to the gym, go for a walk with your dog instead!

They offer companionship

When you choose to own an animal, you become responsible for their wellbeing and an integral part of their livelihood. Many people develop close emotional bonds with their animals. This bond allows you to feel wanted and needed and can have a positive effect on your psychological health. For those who live alone, a pet can keep you company and prevent loneliness. There’s nothing better than coming home to a wagging tail from a pet that is excited to see you!

They provide new meaning to life

For older people and the elderly, companion animals can be a good way of revitalizing and giving new meaning to their lives. As we get older, we may experience significant changes in our lives: children move out, significant others pass away, or we retire, resulting in much more free time than we’re used to. These changes can have profound impacts on how we feel, and we may begin to feel lonely. By choosing to add a companion animal to your side, you’ll benefit emotionally from a boost in morale, optimism and sense of self-worth.  Additionally, if you opt to rescue an animal, you may also benefit from knowing that you saved an animal’s life. 

Emotional support animals have also become popular to help people address their mental health needs.

Not only is pet ownership a rewarding experience, but as we’ve shown you, it can also be a healthy one. In honour of National Best Friends Day, be sure to do something extra special for your furry, feathery, or scaly friend to say thanks for keeping you healthy!