Why having a pet is healthy for you
I have been a pet owner almost all my life. There were not too many years when I didn't have a furry creature waiting for me when I walked in the door.
I've had an array of different types of dogs from Chihuahua cross to Alaskan Malamute cross. Some were lap dogs and some were yard dogs. Some of the yard dogs thought they were even lap dogs! They all have brought joy into our family.
I have also had different variations of cats! They all had their own personality that made them unique and special.
These are the current cat collection we have here at home.
As our children grew up we encouraged their interests in animals. In fact we had hamsters, lizards, mice, and more. It taught our children responsibility. These animals needed to be cared for and taking on this responsibility was good for them.
Pets are great for our health! It is not just antidotal but there is clinic evidence to support it.
The American Heart Association has linked the ownership of pets, especially dogs, with a reduced risk for heart disease and greater longevity.
- Dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.
- People with dogs have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets. One study even found that when people with borderline hypertension adopted dogs from a shelter, their blood pressure declined significantly within five months. http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/having-a-dog-can-help-your-heart--literally
- Playing with a dog or cat can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
- Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels (indicators of heart disease) than those without pets.
- Heart attack patients with dogs survive longer than those without.
- Pet owners over age 65 make 30 percent fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets.
Owning a pet can also help to change lifestyle habits that are more beneficial to our well being. The need to look after a creature, taking them for walks, having a companion helps to create structure to your day, allows you to meet new people at the dog park or just when you walk around the block. Just touching and stroking your pet will help reduce anxiety and lower blood pressure.
Your pet doesn't care what kind of day you had. They are beating heart that appreciates another beating heart.
Many provide service in other ways. Some work for the vision impaired and as well the hearing impaired. They can be great yard dogs and are great deterrents to intruders.
If you are making a decision to own a pet there are a few thoughts to consider. This is a commitment. Your pet will be with you for a long time! They will be a member of your family. Make sure you are ready for this commitment. There is sound evidence that you should not buy your pet from a pet store. Pet stores have little to no information on the animal in their store. Many of these animals come from cruel and restrictive breeding practices. Essentially they are mills. The American Humane Society and the Canadian Federation of humane Societies both state clearly that the purchase of your pet should come from reputable shelters, rescue organizations or satellite adoption centres.
Looking after your pet is important. Regular veterinarian visits are important. The quality of the food you provide will determine the quality of their health. Do your research. There are many contradicting thoughts on the web. Surprise! From raw diets to home made to can food to dry food it is quite confusing. Our dogs have been given a high quality dry dog food that is free of binders and fillers. Our cats have been given dry food as well, however male neutered cats can develop crystals so it may be necessary to feed him soft canned food. We have needed to do this for our male cats and because they all eat together feed them all soft food. Your pet may benefit from a supplement. In particular they may need essential fatty acids. Based on some of the latest research it may be prudent to provide your pet with omega 3 essential fats as a supplement because many of the commercial food brands do not provide enough adequate omega 3's. If you decide you would like to provide you pet with omega 3 essentials fats then make sure you choose one that is pharmaceutical grade with a guarantee of potency.
Whether you have a dog, cat or even a rabbit, having a pet is good for your soul!
Yours in Health
John - One Hip Guy