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March 22, 2012 at 7:35 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

How Pets Can Improve Our Health

By Victoria Swanson More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Paws & Awws Blog Series

Pets are wonderful, loving, and loyal companions. But, did you know that they do much more for us than provide us with unconditional love?

Lately, in the news, there has been a lot of talk about the positive affects pets have on overall health. I've always known the power pet's have on our health, but now there is scientific proof! Let me share with you just how good pets are for us!

Heart Smart

Pets can help reduce blood pressure, lower triglyceride, and cholesterol levels! It's been medically proven that owning a pet can also decrease recovery time from an illness. Heart attack patients that have a pet or live with a pet can survive longer than those that are without a pet.

Running, walking, biking, and hiking all are great ways to exercise for your heart health. And who else loves to go outside and walk around? Your dog! A dog will encourage you to get out and get your body moving which helps build a strong, healthy heart. So get moving with your dog!

Allergy Smart

Oh, those allergies can be miserable, but not if you had a pet when you were a child. An astonishing number of studies have shown how having a pet as a child helps reduce the risk of developing asthma and allergies. They have even been shown to decrease the chances of eczema (a common skin allergy condition). Children with pets showed a sign of a stronger immune system.

Although the benefits are more geared to children than adults that are already struggling with pet allergies, a family that can get a dog when their children are young will give them a better opportunity to develop a healthy immune system to protect against asthma and allergies.

Soul and Mind Smart

Pets aren't just great for the body; they're great for the soul too! They help relieve anxiety, depression, and stress. All which can bring down your immune system and contribute to heart problems as well as your mental well-being. Simply petting or walking your pet will help release serotonin and dopamine (natural mood boosters) in your body.

Having a pet creates a routine not just for them, but for you too! For example, you have to let them outside to go to the bathroom, feed them, and walk them during the day. This schedule will help you fight the urge to want stay in bed and pull the covers over your head. Your furry buddy is counting on you throughout the day. You're never alone; your pet is always there for you - ready to give you their unconditional love (any day and any time!)
Remember: Pets are silly and always looking at the glass half full. They will consistently put a smile on your face, give you a good chuckle, and brighten your day.

Age Smart

Young or old, no matter what your age is, you can benefit from sharing your life with a pet.
When we are young, we learn how to treat our pets by example. So, what better examples than our own parents?

Studies have shown that children raised with pets, who have parents setting the example of how to treat pets with kindness, have a kinder, gentler, and more caring disposition. Pets also help children foster their emotions, build on their social skills, and help with physical development.

Having a pet is also especially great for the elderly. They can provide them with love and help them to be social. Walking their pet helps them to get out, meet new people, and form new friendships. This is true for everyone with a pet, not just the elderly!

Fun Fact: Even our brains benefit from caring for a pet. Studies have shown that patients with Alzheimer's that have a pet in their homes have less outbursts of anxiousness.

I hope you enjoyed reading about the health benefits of owning a pet! When you go home to your pets, make sure to give them an extra long hug. It won't just help them, but you too!

Resources:

Pets WebMD - Pets Improve Your Health

Pets WebMD - 5 Ways Pets Improve Your Health

More from Health Coach Victoria Swanson Others Are Reading

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