5 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health. Pets provide companionship and emotional support that can be beneficial to people of all ages.
They have been shown to have a positive impact on mental and physical health, including reducing stress and anxiety, promoting relaxation and improving cardiovascular health.
Additionally, pets can help people to develop a sense of responsibility and build positive social interactions.
In the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, researcher James E. Gern stated that in the past it was believed that children were more likely to become allergic to pets if their family had one.
However, a growing number of studies have suggested that the opposite is true and kids who grow up in a home with “furred animals” are less likely to suffer from allergies and asthma.
Dogs are a great icebreaker, especially if you’re feeling shy or socially isolated. According to Nadine Kaslow, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University in Atlanta, people are more likely to strike up a conversation with you if you have a dog.
“People ask about breed, they watch the dog’s tricks,” Kaslow says. “Sometimes the conversation stays at the ‘dog level,’ sometimes it becomes a real social interchange.”
Dogs for the Aged
According to studies done by researchers at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, patients with Alzheimer’s have fewer anxious outbursts when there is an animal in the home.
The same studies also suggest that caregivers feel less burdened when there is a pet, especially if it is a cat, in the house as they generally require less care than dogs.
Walking a dog health or just caring for a pet can provide exercise and companionship for elderly people.
Midland Life Insurance Company of Columbus, Ohio, asks clients over age 75 if they have a pet as part of their medical screening. This often helps tip the scales in their favor.
Good for Mind and Soul
People with AIDS who own pets are far less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets, according to researcher Judith Siegel, PhD.
In one study, stockbrokers with high blood pressure who adopted a cat or dog had lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations than did people without pets.
Being in a constant state of stress can take a toll on your health in more ways than one. As studies have shown, there is a direct correlation between stress levels and heart disease.
This is because when people are stressed, their bodies produce harmful chemicals like cortisol and norepinephrine. These chemicals can negatively affect the immune system and lead to plaque buildup in arteries, which is a red flag for heart disease.
Playing with dogs can be a lot of fun and also help alleviate stress. According to WebMD, “like any enjoyable activity, playing with a dog can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine nerve transmitters that are known to have pleasurable and calming properties.”
Justice, who recently hiked the Colorado Rockies with his wife and two dogs, says that one healthy way to raise serotonin and dopamine is to “pet your dog, or hug your spouse, watch sunsets, or get around something beautiful in nature.
” So next time you’re feeling stressed, try taking your dog for a walk or playing fetch–it just might be the best medicine.
Good for the Heart
Pets may improve heart health, according to several studies. Male pet owners have been shown to have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than non-owners, researchers say.
These studies suggest that owning a pet may help to improve heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease.