How pets impact our health

So as I sit here pondering what to write for this week’s blog, I’m sitting on the sofa next to Obi.

Not the Jedi (although that is what he’s named after) but my friend Sophie’s 12-week young English Springer Spaniel. And so it’s decided, this week I’m going to be talking to you about pets and their effects on our health.

Pets impact on our health

As you may have guessed by the fact that I’m writing a blog on it, our pawed pals are indeed good for our health. In fact, there are many health benefits associated to owning a pet. Studies have shown that the bond between people and their pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to their owners. Some of the health benefits of having a pet include₁:

  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Decreased cholesterol levels
  • Decreased triglyceride levels
  • Decreased feelings of loneliness
  • Increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities
  • Increased opportunities for socialisation

Please note: those with weakened immune systems, under the age of 5, over the age of 65, or pregnant ladies may need to take extra care when around animals.

A man’s best friend

Now don’t get me wrong, most types of pets are good for our health. But as a self-confessed dog-lover, I can’t talk about the benefits of pets without specifically talking about our canine friends. The companionship that a dog offers is slightly different to our other furry friends.

Firstly, the companionship a dog offers helps reduce anxiety and stress. But what about human companions? Of course, our friends and family are also critical to our health in having good companions and relationships. However, there is a difference between the companionship or a dog and the companionship of a human. It’s the judgement. Or the lack of from the dog. Simply put, dogs don’t judge. Actually, they might, but they can’t tell us when they do.

Secondly, we share some of those all important microbes with our dogs and being exposed to dogs from an early age can help reduce the likelihood of allergies such as pet allergies or eczema₂.

Finally heart attack patients who have dogs, are less likely to suffer a second attack and survive longer than those without₂.

So go on, give your feline or canine friends some extra love and appreciation. Give ’em a hug. Because at the end of the day, why not.

Love Emma x

Dedicated to Wisden, one of the best dogs to have ever lived x

References:

  1. Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, About Pets & People, 2019, https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health-benefits/index.html
  2. WebMD, 5 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health, 2004, https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/features/health-benefits-of-pets

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