Would it surprise you to know that pets can improve your health? I thought I would spend the next couple blogs talking about the advantage to sharing your home with creatures other than human beings! There are so many health benefits from having a pet. For example, researchers found that when inactive dog owners were encouraged to walk for their dog’s health, they were more likely to do so. Similarly, pet owners are more likely to quit smoking when they are told that that their second hand smoke is hurting their pets. Having an animal friend to love can help prevent us from getting sick and even better, to recover faster when we are ill! Studies have shown that animal companions that are used by healers to augment traditional medicinal therapies have been shown to lower pain levels and increase healing time. There have been numerous studies that have shown that patients that are undergoing cancer treatment who have interactions with animals report improved health, decreased depression, and improved social and psychological well-being, even when experiencing physical and functional problems.
I have found that when I am struggling with a health issue, that there is no greater support and mood booster, than interacting with my boys or my clients. I was reading about a study that showed that pet ownership is linked to lower incidence of heart disease, however, researchers were not certain why this was the case. Other research has shown that having an animal companion can moderate the imbalance caused by diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. It is not surprising to me, that pet owners who have coronary artery disease show a greater one-year survival rate over non-owners, regardless of their heart attack’s severity. I am no scientist, but I would say the answer is rather blatant. Love, having an animal to care for and be loved by, in simple terms allows a person to experience boundless amounts of joy. Experiencing joy impacts on on a person’s over all health. My pets make me smile, laugh, and lift my spirits every day. How can one focus on dis-ease, when they have a pet companion to remind them how wonderful life is and the amazing gifts we are blessed with each and every day. When I was out walking this morning with my boy friends, I was humming away, enjoying the blue skies and the sight of the moon making a day time appearance, as well as a pair of ducks swimming in the pond. Currently, the world seems like a scary place, with bombings of airports and acts of terrorism reported constantly in the news. It is hard to not feel mired in negativity and allow depression to take root, and yet, when I am out walking with the dogs, all that melts away! When I am out breathing in the fresh air, it helps me to see all that is good and worth celebrating. When I am sitting on the couch in the evening watching the news with my big old boy snoring on one side or me and my cat purring on the other, I able to let go of the angst caused by world events and take a deep breath. It is not surprising to me in any way, shape or form, that having a pet can improve ones overall sense of well-being and remind one to embrace life. The love of a pet is simple, and uncomplicated and transformative!