Pets and Your Health
Monday, August 15, 2016
Sure – pets are adorable! They provide companionship and purpose. But did you know that owning a pet can actually help with your health? Spending time with and caring for a pet can help with both your mental and physical health in a variety of ways.
Getting more active – If you have a pet that has to be taken outside frequently, by default you get exercise, fresh air, and sun. Studies have shown that dog owners walk more and tend to have lower blood pressure than those who don’t. These studies also went on to show that heart attack survivors and others with serious heart conditions who owned pets went on to live longer than those with the same conditions and no pets.
Socialization – People who have pets often connect easier with other individuals, particularly those with pets themselves. Taking out pets also helps to start conversations with random people and may help to build friendships. There have been a great deal of studies done showing that pets are great for those with social anxiety! In some areas, pets are even being “prescribed” as emotional support tools in lieu of medications!
Stress relief – Petting and scratching on a pet is a proven way to help alleviate stress levels. Loving on your pet helps your body to release a relaxation hormone while also helping to cut down levels of stress hormones. Focusing on your pet also helps to take your mind off of other things that may be bothering you.
Companionship – It’s no secret that pets help to eliminate loneliness. But they can also help to improve your mood and general outlook on life. Scientists believe that pets help to give life meaning and encourage responsibility. Those with anxiety or depression are often particularly helped by this.
Certain allergies may keep you away from ever owning a specific animal. If you do have allergies, talk with your doctor before adopting a new pet. Your doctor will most likely be able to offer you resources to which options are best for you and your family. Although a pet may help with some health issues, they could also wreak havoc on your allergies. Also check with local regulations and housing codes to ensure that your pet is “legal” where you live. Taking on a pet is a huge responsibility and should not be taken lightly. Make sure that everyone in your family is on board to help love and take care of it before ever beginning the process. Reach out to local pet organizations and rescues for other information and help making the right choice for your health and family.