There has been much research done on the ways pets help health. From the almost obvious, walking a dog providing us with exercise, to more clinical research showing that pet ownership can reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol and aid depression.
This article offers these facts so if you want to Get Healthy Stay Healthy Get A Pet.
- The 8 Ways Pets Help Health
- Get Healthy Stay Healthy Get A Pet
The 8 Ways Pets Help Health
1. Boost Immunity And Alleviate Allergies
It might sound odd, as many people actually avoid pet ownership because of allergies! Here’s the evidence!
One of the functions of our immune system is to seek out and find potentially harmful threats. Once identified our system releases antibodies to combat the perceived threat.
However sometimes our body overreacts and harmless substances are considered dangerous, and we get an allergic reaction.
A lot of people think pets will trigger allergic reactions.
Research shows that living with a pet during the first year of life cuts the probabilities of developing pet allergies later in life and also lowers the risk of developing asthma.
A 2017 study based on newborns who live with cats found that they had a lower risk of developing childhood asthma, bronchiolitis and pneumonia.
There is also research that shows living with a pet as a child actually increases and raises function of our immune system.
One research study focused on college students and the petting a dog. This research found that petting a dog for 18 minutes raised immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels in saliva. This is evidence of a clinically robust immune system.
2. Help Boost Mood And Aid Depression
Pet ownership, or even occasional pet companionship, helps to resolve loneliness and makes us happy.
Owning a pet ensures that we engage with life, we need to take them on walks, be responsible for their wellness, buy food, keep them healthy and all these aspects of pet ownership help keep us focused and stable.
Research on pets and emotional health shows positive signs that pet therapy helps depression and other mood disorders.
3. Pets and Stress Reduction
Stress causes our body to go into fight or flight mode.
This means our body releases hormones such as cortisol to release increased levels of blood sugars and epinephrine which, in turn, causes our heart rate to elevate.
This was great for our ancient predecessors who used these releases to avoid predators or fight competitors.
The problem is that in our modern world, if we live in a constant state of fight or flight, the stress takes a physical toll on our body.
It raises our risk of heart disease, increases susceptibility to infectious disease and may contribute to depression.
Research has shown that the psycho-social and psycho-physiological effects of pet ownership lowers the release stress hormones and slows the heart rate.
Pet ownership, or regular contact with a pet, has been shown through research to lower our anxiety levels and can elevate our feeling of peace and calm.
Studies show that dogs help to ease both stress and loneliness in senior citizens, and help to achieve a state of calm in college students before examinations.
Get Healthy Stay Healthy Get A Pet
4. Pets Lower Levels Of Cholesterol
Research has shown that Pet Owners, most likely due to the exercise, have far better heart health, lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol than non pet owners!
5. Pets Help Reduce Stress Levels
Being in the same environment with your pet has a calming effect on the body.
The neurochemical, oxytocin, is released when we stroke pets, research shows increased oxytocin levels are achieved even if we are looking at our pet.
That’s why when you look at your best friend you have those wonderful feelings of joy.
6. Pets Reduce Our Cardiovascular Disease Risk
Lower cholesterol, less stress, and reduced blood pressure levels, when combined with additional physical activity, increases our personal fitness which in turn reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Studies have shown that of those people who suffered a heart attack there was a 60% increase in first year survival in pet owners.
7. Pets Aid Positive Emotional Health
Pets provide socialization opportunities and also individual support for their owners.
The British Psychological Society found that pets, dogs in particular, promoted therapeutic and psychological well being as well as lowering stress and improving self esteem.
It was noted that pet owners tended to be happier in their life and had higher self confidence than non pet owners.
8. How Pets Help Health In The Elderly
Owning a pet offers companionship to the elderly, one of the contributing factors to better health. The companionship allows feelings of love and support and decreases loneliness.
Pet ownership also provides the elderly with more opportunity for exercise and is particularly of benefit if suffering with illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and may even help prevent the onset of osteoporosis.
Research shows that Alzheimer’s patients have much fewer anxiety attacks and aggressive outbursts if they were in an environment which had pets.