What is that one feeling you get when you see a puppy or kitten? Doesn’t it seem like all of life’s troubles just magically disappear? And then when you get, as I like to call it, “the love” from them. Oh my. For me, I turn right into mush. So what is it about pets and the love they give that’s so beneficial to our health.
Studies have shown that there is true healing power in our pets. It’s not just the fact that they decrease stress and seem to instantly make our world a better place, it’s what they make us do that actually helps us become healthier and better people overall.
For example, people who own dogs are more likely to walk, walk faster, maybe even jog and run, thus enjoying a more active lifestyle than people who don’t. Think about it. Whether it’s raining, snowing, warm, or cold, a dog needs to go outside for a walk and do his/her business. As a result, you are getting exercise you might not otherwise push yourself to do, thus you are working your heart, muscles, and relieving stress all at the same time.
Plus, studies have shown time and time again that owning a pet helps lower blood pressure better than any medication, and the CDC reports that pets can decrease both your cholesterol and trigylceride levels.
But the benefits go far beyond the physical – they create and reinforce social bonds and help fight depression and feed our souls! Animals give unconditional love. They never judge. They never ask questions. They don’t care about the kind of car you drive or how big or small your home is. It’s just their presence that offers a sense of comfort that automatically gives us positive vibes and thus a greater sense of health and well-being.
Many dogs are used as therapy for children and adults with autism and other mental disorders as well as comforting Alzheimer’s patients to the point where they have fewer anxious outbursts. And if a child in the home gets upset, guess who he or she wants to talk to? So truly, it can be argued that the emotional benefits of pet ownership are actually on the same level as human friendship.
Ironically I never had a dog growing up, but my love for them is beyond words. Ever since I graduated college I have always lived with one, but usually two or more, dogs. I now also foster through Rescue Dogs Rock Animal Rescue in Franklinville, NJ and Blue Chip Farms Animal Rescue in Dallas, PA and have various other contacts in the rescue world.
If overall health and wellness is a priority in your life, definitely consider adopting an animal (I’d be happy to point you in the right direction). Trust me when I tell you, the benefits you will experience are better than any pill or prescription, guaranteed!!