You are most likely already very aware that your pets bring a whole lot of love and positive energy to your lives. But you might not quite be aware of the many ways in which they help keep you healthy. Here’s just a few of the ways pets have been shown to improve their owners’ health:
More physical exercise
Motivating you to take up – and stick to – a regular exercise routine is just one of the health benefits that pets, in this case specifically dogs, bring to Aussie pet owners.
A study from Michigan State University found that dog owners spend 69% more time exercising than non-dog-owners and that doesn’t include time taken for actual dog walks.
This might explain why pet ownership has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reducing pet owners’ risk of cardiovascular disease, and if you have a four legged (or feathered or finned) friend in your life you will have to visit the doctor less often than the average Australian and you’ll need to use fewer medications.
Better social life
Socially there are significant benefits to owning a pet. Pet ownership provides companionship and dogs in particular are great conversation-starters, introducing owners to one another and providing common ground for conversation. A Harvard study found that pet owners were 60% more likely than non–pet owners to get to know people in their neighborhoods they hadn’t known before.
Children who grow up with pets during infancy have stronger immune systems and reduced incidence of asthma-related allergies and are less likely to miss school through illness.
Better mental health
Research has shown that teens who own pets are more positive about life, and less lonely, restless and bored. In fact, pet owners in general are less likely to suffer from depression, have higher levels of self-esteem and conscientiousness and appear to cope with grief better than non-pet owners. Which is why therapy dogs are so popular with hospitals, nursing homes and schools.
Studies even suggest that simply looking at animals, for example watching fish swimming around a tank, can reduce anxiety and induce relaxation in stressful times.
Dr Bruce Syme BVSc (Hons), Founder of Vets All Natural.
Dr Bruce Syme is a practicing vet and expert in natural pet nutrition, has spoken at the Australian Veterinary Association Annual Conference, and provides regular comment on TV and Radio.
Disclaimer: The entire contents of this article are based upon the opinions of Dr. Bruce Syme, unless otherwise noted. The information is not intended as medical advice, it simply shares the knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Bruce and his community. Pet health care decisions should be based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified pet health care professional.
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