According to the 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey (yes that is a real thing!), 68% of US households – about 85 million families – own a pet.
Studies have shown that dog owners particularly decrease their risk of death in general by 33 percent compared with those without a pet!!
This week we’ll talk about how pets can have a positive impact on your health from stress to fitness! Don’t have a pet? Go check out the local humane society and/or pet sanctuaries!
Pets and Stress Response:
Now this may depend on the person – and on the pet – but numerous studies have shown that pets can help lower blood pressure and regulate the heart rate during stressful conditions. Even when they are not with you at the time! Pretty amazing. Outside of casual health benefits, therapy animals can be used for more extensive needs, such as equine therapy for conditions from depression, to anxiety and post-traumatic stress!
Check out this link for info on therapy dogs!
Pets and Staying Active:
Pets can help you stay active, particularly if you have a pet that requires outside time. Walking the dog for instance is an activity that will force you to get outside in even the harsh winter conditions instead of loafing around when the weather is poor! Going for a short walk can have tremendous health benefits when compared with hours of sitting uninterrupted.
Pets and Mental Health:
On the same idea as licensed therapy pets, pets love you for who you are without judgement, which can lead to feelings of acceptance that one may not always get from family or society! Dog parks can be a great way to get active with your pet as well as have a social outlet with others that share a common interest.
Find local parks, and establishments, where you can bring your dog along at www.bringfido.com. Check out the activities area for local dog parks and outdoor options.
Pets and Allergies:
The National Institute of Health has suggested “children exposed to high indoor levels of pet or pest allergens during infancy have a lower risk of developing asthma by 7 years old.” (Source) A similar earlier study found homes with cats had a protective effect, having made allergy-related antibodies, against asthma symptoms in young children. Some scientists believe pets carry microbes that stimulate the immune system so that children don’t become allergic. (Source)
A Pet a Day Keeps the Doctor Away:
Two studies involving the same participants 5 years apart showed that people who had a pet both at the first and second touchpoint had the fewest doctors visits of the group, followed by the group who had no pet the first round and had then acquired one within the 5 years preceding the next.
Take a moment to think about that!
Dog, Cat, Horse, Fish, Bird – any pet counts!