BENEFITS OF HAVING A PET
SO WORTH IT!
Thinking about getting a dog, cat, guinea pig, bunny or any other kind of pet? Do it! And if you need any reason beyond the animal’s cuteness to convince someone you live with, mention one of these eight health benefits that can come from being a pet owner. The benefit of a potentially longer, healthier life outweighs all those chewed-up shoes, phone cords, handling the pooper scoopers, hairballs, and a little slobber right?
My Bunny Collection
LEARNING CURVE CARING FOR A BUNNY
I personally have had bunnies for the past 20 plus years and it wasn’t by accident. I grew up owning dogs first and then along came a cat phase and at one time owned both which can be a fun combo. It was work, but worth the chores to care for them because of the laughter and unconditional love they gave in return! Not even a fair trade:) I had to get books on caring for Bunnies because they are a different breed and require different care than say a dog or cat. For one, they have a different digestive system, unique fur shedding and more. They are so fun to watch hop and twist in the air and yes you can teach some cool tricks. As I write this, I’m reminiscing about some of the funniest, sad, happy, moving, emotional and physical times. Another special trait of pets – animals bring people together!
I could write a book on all the crazy pet antics with the many animals I’ve grown up with and all who were involved. I have to share the time, my first husband and I were getting an apartment and couldn’t have pets so Mom inherited Jake. He was a badass looking cat. He was strong in physical nature and had a walk like his poop didn’t stink. She wasn’t too thrilled but obviously wasn’t upset either. Her reason for taking him on was to help us but, little did she know it was going to create a fun relationship for him. Especially since she was never a cat owner. She was a dog lover by trade but grew up on a farm among the chickens, dogs, cows and sheep. Jake had strayed never to be found..sigh, but we inherited another cat when we relocated to another apartment that took pets. A long distance move was in the works to Denver so Mom came to the rescue without hesitation and Moose our huge gray fluffy became her buddy for life.
Another pop up memory! Mom and Dad owned an aquarium and took care of the Seals. They took on a pet Seal and named him Buttons. I wasn’t born yet so I didn’t get to relish in that experience but I did see some pretty awesome pictures of them and heard the stories of how clever they were. Let’s get down to the brass tacks of the benefits of owning a pet!
HEALTH BENEFITS OF OWNING A PET
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that owning a dog requires a little bit of energy. Dogs have to be walked and exercised, which means dog owners are out there getting more physical activity than people without dogs. According to one study, people are more likely to take regular walks with a dog than they are with a human. Another found that 60% of dog owners who took their dogs for regular walks were considered to get regular moderate or vigorous exercise based on federal standards. I recommend getting in shape because as you know, dogs are notorious for running when they see prey or other canine. Whether their on a leash or not, you’ll need athletic skills to stop them in their tracks.
2. Less Stress:
Sure, it can be stressful to have pets. when you are afraid one might be sick or you can’t figure out how to get them to stop breaking your blinds, but overall, pets are known to reduce stress. Cortisol is a hormone activated by stress, and studies have found that being around animals can decrease cortisol levels. For this reason, many workplaces are starting to allow employees to bring dogs to work, and some universities are letting students borrow dogs during stressful times of the year. In fact a good friend of mine who works as a manager of a family owned business, has taken her dog to work every day since the day she
Can you feel your blood pressure start to rise when stress creeps into your life? Along with medications and lifestyle changes, a pet can help with hypertension. A study of stockbrokers found that having a cat or dog helped lower the spikes in blood pressure that happen when a person is stressed. Another study of hospitalized heart patients found that dogs decreased the patients’ blood pressure by about 10% in the left side of their hearts.
Newsflash Cat owners! Your little furball could be preventing heart disease for you. Studies have found that people with cats were 40% less likely to have a fatal heart attack. The jury is still out whether it’s the cat’s calming effects or whether people who choose cats as pets are at less risk for heart disease that make the difference. Regardless, if you’re a cat person, you’re in luck! We’re not ruling out that dogs don’t have the same impact, it’s just the study was only done on cats.
5. Depression Reduction
Have noticed that when you’ve been a bit down, pets will sense this and promote unconditional love or randomly do something silly that put a smile on your face? Even those suffering with diagnosed depression can reap these mood-lifting benefits. The National Institute of Mental Health recognizes animal-assisted therapy as a treatment for depression and other mood disorders because pets can have a positive effect on depression in a number of ways. A pet requires its owner to remain active and can help him or her feel less isolated from society. A pet also remains a trusted companion, even when its owner withdraws from friends and family.
A seven-year study of almost 500 children found that children who were exposed to dogs and cats as babies were half as likely to have allergies and risk factors for asthma as they grew up than those who didn’t. Infants with more than one pet in the home had the lowest risk of allergies. So even though you might have to be cautious with pets around babies to make sure the pets don’t become aggressive with them, having those pets around could benefit your child in the long run. Ah ha Moment! this might be why my brother who spent 8 days in an Oxygen tank when he was 8 months old, later conquered the deadly ashtma attacks. That and along with his long distance running! In fact, he always put in his mileage with Oly, our loving and loyal black lab.
If you have diabetes, you know how dangerous a drop in blood sugar can be. While many people have their blood sugar under control, those who often have unexpected changes could get a life-saving health benefit from having a dog. There are specially trained dogs who have been taught to detect drops in blood sugar by smelling. When they smell a change, they can alert the person before it becomes dangerous. That’s monumental!
This must be payment for the number of times you’ve had to clean out that stanky litter box: Owning a cat cuts a person’s risk of having a stroke by more than a third! Researchers theorize that petting a cat can lower stress or that the type of people who own cats are more stress-free naturally. Whatever the reason, I highly encourage you to go adopt a pet just to be on the safe side.
If you’re a pet owner, I hope after reading this blog that it reminded you how much you appreciate your pet and you give them a big hug today! And if you aren’t yet a pet owner, I hope you’re inspired to go out and getcha one!
From one Pet lover to another, keep taking care of each other!
Love, Peace and Health,