Six Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health

Thursday, September 01, 2016 01:36:35 PM America/Los_Angeles

If you ask most pet owners what their pets mean to them, they’ll probably tell you that their four-legged family members are a huge part of their lives. But did you know that owning a pet can also play a significant role in improving your physical and mental health? If you’re considering adopting a pet, here are six important ways that domestic animals can improve your health.  

Improved Cardiac Health

One of the main benefits of pet ownership is better cardiac health, such as:

  • Improved blood pressure—Having a pet can help you to control hypertension (high blood pressure). Consider that walking an animal forces you to get off the couch and take more steps each day, which helps in lowering blood pressure.
  • Lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels—Being a pet owner can be beneficial in lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which can reduce the probability of a heart attack or stroke from occurring later on. Again, this health benefit is linked with getting more exercise, as a result of walking or playing with your pet. 

Sharpei Source: Annette Shaff/Shutterstock

Stress Relief

Pets can help you unwind after a hectic day so that you feel calmer. Just gazing into your pet’s eyes can result in the release of oxytocin, which is a powerful hormone that emits joyful, pleasant feelings. Additionally, looking at your pet or stroking its fur can trigger a reduction in cortisol, which is a stress hormone.  

Blood Sugar Monitoring

Surprisingly, some animals can even help diabetics in monitoring their blood sugar. It’s usually dogs that show a noticeable change in behavior when their owners experience a drop in blood sugar. Birds, cats and rabbits have also exhibited behavioral changes as a result of a diabetic owner suddenly having a drop in blood sugar.

Reduced Chronic Pain

Do you suffer from ongoing, severe discomfort due to arthritis, migraines or other types of chronic pain? Owing a pet can actually help in reducing chronic pain. Think of your pet as a type of living Valium. When your anxiety is less, you don’t have as much pain.

Allergy Protection

Pets in a home can help in protecting young children from developing allergies. For example, many studies have revealed that children who have been exposed to pet dander in their early years are less likely to suffer from future allergies.

In fact, babies under the age of one, who live with at least two animals, don’t have as many allergies by the time they celebrate their sixth or seventh birthdays as kids do in homes without pets. 

baby sleeping with dog Source: Hannamariah/Shutterstock

Enhanced Mental Health

Most people who live alone, but have pets, are happier than people without them. They don’t feel as lonely because they don’t come home to an empty house with no one to welcome them. Even when you think nobody loves you, your pet will continue to shower you with unconditional love. 

A pet can give meaning to your life, making you feel like you’re important to another living thing. It can also help in providing more of a daily routine. Additionally, owning a pet can be useful in connecting with other people, which can reduce loneliness.

Considerations and Warnings

  • Children with high blood pressure can improve hypertension by petting their dogs or cats.
  • It’s a good idea to take your dog on at least two short walks in the morning and evening. Each session should last for at least 15 minutes.
  • Besides walking your dog each day, include some active playtime, such as having Fido retrieve sticks or run after a ball. Playing with pets can cause serotonin and dopamine levels to increase, which has a relaxing, calming effect.
  • Pet owners who have undergone heart attacks often recover quicker that people who do not own pets.
  • Having a guard dog can help you to feel safer, which leads to less anxiety when you’re alone in your house.
  • If you have a heart condition, you still need to eat heart-healthy foods, exercise regularly and take any needed medications.

Even if you have just one pet, it’s easy for your yard to quickly fill up with stinky, unsightly animal stools. Please contact us and learn more about how we can help you keep your property clean and tidy by using our real-grass product for your pet’s potty needs.