We all have furry friends, who are important members of our family. Studies indicate having a cat, dog, bird, rabbit or other type of pet has many health benefits.
- Pets, especially dogs, help to keep us active. Whether you have a puppy or a mature dog, your dog will need exercise, a walk around the block, jogging, biking or hiking. Researchers have looked at the relationship between connecting with nature and mental health. There is a higher rate of depression in children who are not exposed to nature versus those children who explore mother nature. The Center for Disease Control and the National Institute of Health have shown pet owners exhibit decreased blood pressure and lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. How about a walk alone the river, walking in the mountains with you dog friend or taking a swim in one of the nearby lakes with the family dog.
- Tail wagging dogs who greet you when you arrive home or purring cats can help to reduce the tension of a tough day at the office and improve your outlook on life. Pets provide unconditional love. They do not judge or critique your actions, the clothes you wear, or your political views. They just want your love and attention which helps you redirect your feelings and shake off your bad day at the office.
- Go ahead and hug your cat or dog it will make you happier and less stressed. National Institute of Health has found hugging your dog or cuddling with your cat can lower your heart rate. The healing power of touch whether four legged or two legged will naturally result in the release of oxytocin, a hormone that decrease the stress response.
- Having a dog, cat, bird or rabbit is a great way to start a conversation whether you are walking your dog or at a gathering with new people.
- Clinical studies have shown, especially in young children that having a furry friend may lower the chances of developing allergies. If you are already allergic to furry friends, try a Standard Poodle, Bichon or Labra-doodle so that you can enjoy the other health benefits of having a pet.
- Along with the joy and happiness of having a pet in the house, comes the responsibility of taking care of them. Pets can be a tool to teach children how to be responsible and what the consequences are when your pet is not cared for. For individuals living by themselves, caring for a pet may add structure to their daily lives and give them a sense of purpose. Furthermore, a pet may help to decrease the feeling of isolation and loneliness which can lead to depression, anxiety or elevated blood pressure.