The photo above is of our furry family: Roxy, Leela, and Bailey. It is often said that pets improve the health of their owners, but in what ways can this be accomplished? I’ve compiled some research that shows exactly how these companions improve our lives.
- Pets increase your activity – Taking a dog for a walk not only give you motivation to get out the door but also helps keep you consistently doing so.
- Decrease your blood pressure – Having a four legged friend during stressful times helps to reduce your blood pressure and lighten your spirits. Read more in a study here.
- Pets help Veterans! An organization called Pets for Patriots helps connect military families with shelter dogs and cats. They can reduce stress and connect family members. Read more about this organization on their website.
- Improve Self Esteem – Children who have pets have an improved sense of self esteem and empathy than those who do not. This is based on a study by Robert Bierer at the University of Albuquerque.
- Improve your Social Life – Have you ever noticed that when you walk a dog you’re everyone’s best friend? It’s a way to connect to your neighbors and meet new people. In my opinion, dog people are always the nicest people. 🙂
- Help the Elderly – “Studies show that older people with dogs visit the doctor less often with minor health issues and have lower levels of blood pressure and cholesterol than non-pet owners” Source.
- Decrease Allergies in Children – Infants that grew up with a dog in the house had a reduced instance of allergies from 33% to 19%. Source.
- Fill Your Heart and Keep it Healthy – “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) have both conducted heart-related studies on people who have pets. The findings showed that pet owners exhibit decreased blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels — all of which can ultimately minimize their risk for having a heart attack down the road. For those who have already experienced a heart attack, research also indicates that patients with a dog or a cat tend to have better recovery rates. These benefits are thought to be connected with pets’ tendency to help reduce or at least control their owners’ overall stress levels” Source.
- Enhance Your Mood – “It only takes 15 to 30 minutes with a dog or cat or watching fish swim to feel less anxious and less stressed. Your body actually goes through physical changes in that length of time that make a difference in your mood. The level of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, is lowered. And the production of serotonin, a chemical associated with well-being, is increased. Reducing stress saves your body wear and tear” Source.
- Pet Therapy – Therapists are using pets to help their patients deal with depression. Providing companionship these animals help to motivate and lift spirits. Read more here.
I instantly feel better when my dog greets me at the door after work. Feel free to share your pet experience in the comments below.
Now go give your dog, cat, or fish (?) a hug. 🙂