Hamsters for Happiness

If you have limited space and still want to keep a pet, then hamsters are a good choice. They are not expensive and require little effort compared with the amount of fun they provide.

Their appearance is both sweet and comical, and they have a habit of looking directly at you, which may be how they evoke a positive emotional response. They are inquisitive, keen to learn and if kept in a clean cage they pose no harm to humans.

Hamsters for Happiness, April 2015

These are the following health benefits that all pets, including hamsters, can provide to humans:

1. Mood Elevation

Studies have shown that keeping pets that we find ‘cute’ and pets that respond to us, causes us to produce a hormone called ‘oxytocin.’ This hormone creates maternal feelings in us all. Playing and interacting with pets releases a brain chemical called ‘endorphin’ which also makes us feel happy.

2. Blood Pressure Lowering

Playing with or gazing at your pet results in a drop in blood pressure. Recent research has been conducted in highly stressed, hypertensive professional groups (including stockbrokers). After they adopted a pet, they reduced their blood pressure. This response was greater and more prolonged than with traditionally prescribed hypertension drugs.

3. Cardiac Protection

In the Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial, 369 heart attack survivors were followed. Dog owners had a 1 % chance of dying within a year, compared with a 7 % chance for people who didn’t own a pet. As yet, there have been no controlled clinical trials that have exclusively studied the cardiac effects of keeping a hamster, but time will tell.

4. Allergy Prevention

We all know of people with allergies who have inflammation in the airways (asthma) or of the skin (eczema) and in some cases this may be in response to pet fur (dander) or pet saliva. Studies have now shown that exposure to a pet during infancy may reduce the likelihood of developing these allergic reactions in adulthood, possibly because the immune system becomes ‘desensitised’ to allergens when exposure occurs at an early age. This de-sensitising process may even begin before birth.

If you have a hamster, have fun!