Since today is National Pet Day, I thought it might be kind of fun to look at some of the benefits that humans get come from having a pet. People often refer to themselves as pet owners. Personally, I never liked that term. I prefer to think that we don't own each other but, instead, that we care for and love each other, more like friends or a member of the family. Whatever term you chose, let's just agree that critters add value to the lives of the humans they share their time and space with.
There are numerous health rewards you get from spending time with animals. Dr. Oz, noted cardiothorascic surgeon and professor at Columbia university, lists these as the chief medical benefits:
1. We reduced your risk of allergens, asthma, and eczema. Exposure to pets as an infant means a reduced risk of allergies later on in life.
2. We lower your blood pressure. the simple act of petting an animal, or even gazing at an aquarium, results in a drop in blood pressure.
3. We strengthen your heart. A new study shows that anyone who's owned a cat, at any time in their life, were 37 percent less likely to die of a heart attack than those who never owned one. Heart attack survivors, too, had only a 1 percent chance of dying within a year if they owned a dog, compared with a 7 percent chance by the subjects who didn't have a dog in their life.
4. We improve your fitness. We get you out doors and moving! A 2011 study in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health showed that dog owners were 34% more likely to complete their 150 minutes of exercise each week. And having a family dog increased physical activity among adolescents. This is very helpful in battling childhood obesity that is reaching epidemic proportions.
5. We provide greater calm for Alzheimer's patients. And for their families, as well. Alzheimer's patients who had a pet, or were exposed to animals, suffered fewer anxious outburts and research shows that caregivers can feel less burdened as well, especially if that animal is a cat. This is thought because cats generally require less additional care than do dogs. Studies are showing that even having pet fish can facilitate a healthy weight gain among people living with Alzheimer's.
6. Certain dogs can help with medical issues, like diabetes, seizures, and autism. The Mexican Hairless is shown to be of great help to those suffering from fibromyalsia.
And pet parents can benefit from emotional well-being. too. Pets bring joy in your lives and offer companionship for those that live alone or are isolated.
1. We reduce your stress.
2. We offer social opportunities. Dog parks are a great way to meet other pet-loving humans. And your pooch gets to make new friends, too. Going to the Big Box pet store is fun and you can along your dog. You never now you'll who'll meet there, either.
3. We can give you the chance to meet others at online community groups.
4. We offer animal-assisted therapy. Spending time with therapy animals gives patients and residents some of the health and wellness benefit of having a pet.
5. We offer companionship and a sense of purpose. Like a small child, pets require a certain amount of attention, food, water, and regular exercise. By tending to your pets, giving them attention when they want it, gives humans a break from their daily routines.
5. Critters are just fun to have around, No explanation needed.
Not everyone can bring home a furry or aquatic friend. But if life circumstances (working long hours or a no-pet policy where you lie) prevent you from having a pet of your own, you can still get their love and health benefits by volunteering at an animal shelter. Go to www.petfinder.com for a list of shelters near you. You'll be so glad you did!