I always find it interesting when people tell me they rescued their furry four footed friend because, the way I see it, we are the ones who are being rescued by these big-hearted animals.

But how do pets contribute to my health?

They are the only mammals on the planet that are always happy to see you, never hold a grudge and would gladly trade their lives for yours at the drop of the hat. In addition to the love they put in your hearts, they also contribute to your health and overall well-being.

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According to the Humane Society of the United States there are 86.4 million cats and 78.2 million dogs in homes around the USA.

The World Society of the Protection of Animals estimates that 6.7 million dogs and 9.8 million cats are kept as pets in the UK and Brazil leads the pack with 30 million dogs and 14.7 million cats. (1)

Feel like you are wound up, agitated and in a constant state of stress?

Owning a pet might actually lower your blood pressure.

Imagine if you had a companion to go home to that would be happy to see you all the time. Next, imagine petting his ears and lying down next to him as you watch your favorite show.

I feel more at peace just thinking about this!

In one experiment, children were found to have lower blood pressure “in the mere presence of a dog, even though they didn’t interact with the animal,” reported a researcher in an often cited article from the Western Journal of Medicine.

“Stroking or petting an animal appears to lower both blood pressure and pulse rate in both the human who is petting and the animal being petted.”

pets contribute to health_3

Even gazing at fish in an aquarium resulted in lowered blood pressure, the journal reported. (2) Hence the fish aquariums in doctor’s offices and dental surgeries!

Owning a dog could help you lead a less sedentary lifestyle

If you are a good dog-parent, you should be taking Fido around the block at least once a day. Every little bit of extra exercise helps keep your weight down and your cardiovascular health, up.

“A study last year from the University of Missouri showed that, for getting exercise, dogs are better walking companions than humans.(3)  And on another positive side note, while you are walking your dog, it is a good time to get out and socialize and with other walkers.

So, great for new friends too!

Lastly, owning a pet can help you manage psychological issues as well

It has been shown that owning an animal can lower anxiety, help with bipolar disorders and general depression.

By owning an animal, you learn how to set a routine. You must get up and take care of your critter, which might also make you learn to take care of yourself.

And you will learn how to set a budget, as owning an animal is not always cheap. When you are able to successfully budget all or most aspects of your life, you will also feel a great sense of accomplishment.

In addition, animals want to be with you. Even if you are feeling like the last person on the planet, that anyone could ever possibly love, your animal will be there by your side as long as their heart keeps beating.

“Lord, help me to be the person my dog thinks I am.” -Anon

 

Connect with Expert Rebecca Clem

References

1. RESPeRATE – Lower Blood Pressure Naturally: Pets Help Lower High Blood Pressure

2. Health Day – Stress Management – Stress Health News: Chris Woolston, M.S. Pets and Stress

3. The New York Times – Well blogs: Tara Parker-Pope Forget the Treadmill. Get a Dog.

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