8 Ways Pets Improve Your Health and Well-Being

According to the research, here are eight ways your companion animal improves your mental and physical health:

1. Increased Physical Fitness: Whether it’s frequent trips outside or long runs and walks with your animal, moving with a pet increases physical activity. According to research published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, walking dogs has further been shown to promote engagement in and adherence to regular physical activity.

2. Lower Stress & Anxiety: Whether it’s comfort, cuddles, laughter or physical activity, having a pet leads to a release in calming endorphins – oxytocin…in an early 2000’s study, researchers in New York found that between friends, spouses, and pets, people were less stressed while conducting difficult tasks when a pet was with them then when a friend or spouse was present…(People who use pet therapy while recovering from surgery are also use less pain medications than those without a pet.)

 

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3. Lower Blood Pressure & Cholesterol: Having a pet is believed to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, especially for those with hypertensive or high-risk patients, according to the CDC. Interestingly, research suggests that cat owners are 30% less likely to have a heart attack and 40% less likely to have a stroke…

4. Improved Discipline for Health-related Behaviors: The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that teenagers with diabetes managed their disease better if they were put in charge of caring for a fish, than teenagers without a pet to care for.

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5. Increased Happiness & Decreased Depression: A sense of purpose is important for human beings…pets can combat depression, particularly in those who are elderly or sick. Veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress have also been found to have improve mood and health outcomes when adding a pet or service dog to their lives.

6. Improved Socialization: Whether physically interacting with other people outside or engaging in a conversation about your pet, having an animal is a great way to connect with others…studies have found that pet owners are perceived as “friendlier” by their neighbors, likely due to the amount of engagement they have when outdoors.

 

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7. Improved Immunity & Allergy Prevention: Research in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology contends that having a dog in infancy can improve a child’s overall immune system, as well as reduce allergies. In fact, it was found that having a pet in the home can decrease a child’s likelihood of developing allergies (related to their home) by 33%.

8. Childhood Development: Emotional development is vitally important for children to becoming healthy adults. And pets have proven to be beneficial to children, particularly those with developmental challenges. Children suffering from ADHD have been shown to focus more when they are in a predictable routine, which pets provide. And for children with autism, the sensory experience of petting an animal can be soothing, and they have greater social skills.

 

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It’s officially National Pet Week. So give your pet an extra treat of attention through walking, grooming, brushing, praising, etc. and let him/her know how much they are valued!


 

 

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