I will admit to being a cat lady. Yes, we currently have 3 cats living in our house, I would have more but that might be considered crazy! I was raised in a house where rescue cats were in an out as well as our own cats plus our rescued chihuahua that we had for 13 years. My husband was not raised with pets in the house but our daughters and I convinced him that a cat would be good to have. Hahaha….he now begrudgingly admits that having pets around is quite entertaining. Having a pet can also help you live a long and healthy life- here’s how:
- Pets alleviate loneliness. Loneliness is one of the biggest obstacles to recovery from illnesses such as heart disease. Patients who suffer heart attacks but own pets are likely to have five times the survival rate of patients who are not pet owners.
- Petting an animal induces relaxation. The act of petting an animal lowers a person’s blood pressure. Studies have shown that owning a pet has long-term positive effects on blood pressure.
- Pets help people adapt, adjust and deal with many changes and losses in life. Pet owners can benefit emotionally from the human-animal relationship.
- Dog owners get more exercise. Walking is excellent exercise for people and dogs. Many people who do not enjoy exercise are happy to walk their dog.
- Dog walkers also get more social interaction, because people are more likely to talk to a walker with a dog as opposed to a lone walker.
- Caring for any pet requires a certain amount of physical activity.
- In studies, people with pets have been found to have lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels when compared with people who did not have pets.
- Dogs can be trained to predict the onset of a seizure in their human friend and forewarn him.
- Children who live with a cat or dog in their first years of life have a lower incidence of hay fever and asthma and are less likely to develop animal-related allergies. They also have a more stable immune system and can fight off disease more effectively.
- Dogs provide physical assistance for the disabled as well as encouraging social interaction.
- The benefits of Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT)for humans with mental disorders have been well-documented.
- A Canadian study of nearly 1,000 adults age 65 and over found that pet owners were more physically fit and less likely to suffer a decline in health in the course of a year.
If you don’t have a pet, think about your lifestyle and consider what type of animal would be best for you. Visit a local shelter to see if you connect with one of the many dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, etc. who would love to help you on your quest for not only physical but good mental health as well.
Has your pet improved your life? Please share your story.