20 Pets Who Show Their Feelings So Well We Understood Them Without Even Trying

20 Pets Who Show Their Feelings So Well We Understood Them Without Even Trying

Pets come with some powerful health benefits. Here’s how caring for a dog, cat, or other animal can help relieve depression and anxiety, lower stress, and improve your heart health.

 

The benefits of pets

Most pet owners are clear about the immediate joys that come with sharing their lives with companion animals. However, many of us remain unaware of the physical and mental health benefits that can also accompany the pleasure of snuggling up to a furry friend. It’s only recently that studies have begun to scientifically explore the benefits of the human-animal bond.

Pets have evolved to become acutely attuned to humans and our behavior and emotions. Dogs, for example, are able to understand many of the words we use, but they’re even better at interpreting our tone of voice, body language, and gestures. And like any good human friend, a loyal dog will look into your eyes to gauge your emotional state and try to understand what you’re thinking and feeling (and to work out when the next walk or treat might be coming, of course).

Pets, especially dogs and cats, can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness, and even improve your cardiovascular health. Caring for an animal can help children grow up more secure and active. Pets also provide valuable companionship for older adults. Perhaps most importantly, though, a pet can add real joy and unconditional love to your life.

Any pet can improve your health

While it’s true that people with pets often experience greater health benefits than those without, a pet doesn’t necessarily have to be a dog or a cat. A rabbit could be ideal if you’re allergic to other animals or have limited space but still want a furry friend to snuggle with. Birds can encourage social interaction and help keep your mind sharp if you’re an older adult. Snakes, lizards, and other reptiles can make for exotic companions. Even watching fish in an aquarium can help reduce muscle tension and lower your pulse rate.

In addition to hand washing, practicing good pet hygiene can help prevent the spread of germs between pets and people. Keep pets and their supplies out of the kitchen, and disinfect pet habitats and supplies outside the house when possible. Never clean supplies in the kitchen sink, food preparation areas, or the bathroom sink. Pets can contaminate surfaces in your home with germs—you don’t have touch pets to get sick from their germs.

Always remove your dog’s feces (poop) from your yard and public places by using a bag, and dispose of it in proper areas. Dog and cat poop can contain parasites and germs that can be harmful to people. Keep children away from areas that might contain dog or cat poop to prevent them from getting roundworms and hookworms. Cover sand boxes so cats don’t use them as a litter box. Clean the cat’s litter box daily to lower the chances of exposure to harmful parasites. Remember, pregnant women should avoid changing a cat’s litter box if possible.