Did you know that there are key health benefits that can
result from owning a pet? Having one can enhance your
physical, mental and social wellbeing.
1. How can a pet help your physical health?
Owning a dog, for instance, will encourage you to get more
exercise. With your faithful friend at your side, you're
much more likely to go for a walk. Walking is one of the
best health activities you can do. While walking you're
also more likely to socially interact with your neighbors
because your special pal often acts as an ice-breaker.
Research led by Dr. Karen Allen at the State University of
New York at Buffalo shows that pets can help lower blood
pressure. Stockbrokers with high blood pressure were
studied to see what happened when they adopted a pet dog or
cat. Researchers concluded that having a pet nearby helps
control increases in blood pressure due to stress.
In his studies Alan Beck, ScD (Professor of Animal Ecology,
Purdue University) found that the simple act of petting
your dog slows your heart rate and causes your blood
pressure to drop.
An added health advantage from pet ownership is that
patients may live longer after heart attacks. Some doctors
recommend that a heart attack survivor adopt a dog because
research has shown that a faithful canine companion can
help prolong an owner's life.
2. How Can A Pet Improve Your Mental Health?
Sharing your life with a cat may help your mental health. A
study conducted at Australia's University of New England
found that people who own feline friends may experience
fewer psychiatric disturbances than those without cats.
Pets can help their owners overcome depression through
their companionship and unconditional love. They seem to
possess the natural ability to help you relax and enjoy
Pets can also help when you experience times of loneliness.
English poet, Alexander Pope, has stated that histories are
more full of examples of the fidelity of dogs than of
friends. According to a Chinese proverb, dogs have so many
friends because they wag their tails, not their tongues.
When you take care of a pet you have to develop a routine
of getting out, buying food and providing exercise. This
can help fight off depression and loneliness. The simple
responsiblity of pet care can help you get your mind off
yourself and your problems.
3. How can a pet enhance your wellbeing in the area of
American Animal Hospital Association President, Link
Wellborn, believes that pets are more than just a member of
the family - they're central to a healthy lifestyle.
Pets help lessen tension between family members and add a
lot of fun and unconditional love to the homes where they
live. When pets do cute and funny things - which they often
do - family members react by laughing and being more
If you don't have a pet yet, consider making one part of
your family, but make sure you have the time and resources
necessary to provide a stable loving home for your new
If you choose a dog as your new pal, remember this wise old
saying. "A dog is man's best friend." That's true in more
ways than one. You'll get unconditional love,
companionship, loyalty and relaxation in return for your
investment of time and material resources.
What a bargain!
Patricia Wagner offers informative tips and a f^ree newsletter to help you live a more energetic lifestyle. Check out A to Z Wellness. She is also an artist and you can view her original paintings at Landscape Art by Patricia Wagner.
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