Written By: Vickie Harris, Paws4Health.com
It is no secret to most pet owners that our pets make us feel good. We are happy to have them in our lives.
But did you know that your pet can actually help you get healthy and stay healthy. You might be surprised at
how many ways your pet can make a difference in your life.
BLOOD PRESSURE – Studies show that owning a pet leads to lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and
lower heart rates. Tests were done with subjects at rest as well as under stress. Over 50% of patients with
high blood pressure responded with an immediate lowering of their blood pressure when allowed to pet and
interact with a dog.
NATURAL MOOD ENHANCER – It takes only a few minutes of sitting quietly with a dog or cat, watching
a fish swim around in a tank or listening to a bird chirp & sing to feel the stress melt away. During these times,
our bodies produce less cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, and more serotonin, a chemical that allows
the body to be less stressed. Less stress on the body is good for your heart and blood pressure.
Pets are often prescribed for patients dealing with or recovering from depression. A pet’s love is unconditional.
They are very attentative listeners and are never judgemental. Walking a dog, grooming your cat, taking care
of your pet in general, gives you a purpose and it allows you to focus on someone or something else besides
LESS ISOLATION – MORE INTERACTION – a pet is a WONDERFUL conversation piece. Who doesn’t
love to talk about their pets and pet owners love to talk with other pet owners to compare stories.
MAKE YOUR PET YOUR EXERCISE BUDDY – People who own pets are generally in better physical
condition – especially if they own a dog. You walk them, play ball with them, etc…. You can also include
your pets in other activities as simple as stretching. Want to stay flexible or are you bothered with arthritis?
Watch your cat. Watch how many times a day they stretch and how they stretch. Then, when they stretch,
stretch with them. Really stretch, like you enjoy it. They sure do! There is nothing like keeping your bones
and muscles in shape when you have arthritis. It is a key element to managing this disease.
FEWER ALLERGIES & ASTHMA PREVENTION – It may sound totally contrary to popular beliefs, but
research is showing that children that grow up with pets in the household, are less likely to develop allergies.
The same is true of those who grow up on a farm. The antibodies needed to fight allergens are developed
earlier in life. Even though pet allergies are the most common triggers for asthma, in homes that had cats when
their children were infants, less instances of adult asthma has been recorded.
THERAPY & INDEPENDENCE – Stroke patients – autism patients – patients with rheumatoid arthritis and so
many more health issues have been rehabilitated with the help of a pet. Horseback riding is a wonderful
therapy for children with autism. Patients who are prone to seizures, strokes, and low blood sugar, can lead
more independent lives with the help of a service companion to help alert them to a possible attack.
Pets are so many times the unsung heroes in our lives. They cheer us, they guard and protect us, they love us,
and often give their lives for us. Our lives are better for knowing and loving them. What a difference our
furry guardian angels make in our lives.