Category: Mental Wellness
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Why Pets Make You Happy
June 21, 2009
Why Pets Make You Happy
Pet owners may tell you their dog, cat, or iguana is their best buddy. Because they're trusting and loyal, people love their pets. Have you ever wondered how much good they can do for you? Guess what? They can do much more than make you smile.
Good for heart health
Research has shown that owning a dog or cat for a long time can protect your heart health. In one 20-year study, people who never owned a cat were 40% more likely to die of a heart attack than those who owned one. Another study showed that dog owners had much better rates of surviving a heart attack after one year than non-owners.
Having a pet can also help you get a handle on your blood pressure. In one study of 240 married couples, pet owners had lower blood pressure than people who did not own a pet. They also had lower heart rates whether they were at rest or having a stress test.
Lowered disease risk
Pets are great at helping you in ways you may have never thought possible -- with preventing and handling disease.
- Lower risk for stroke: Research has shown that cat owners have fewer strokes than people who don't own cats. It's partly because a pet can help a person's circulation (blood flow). But researchers also think cats may have keep their owners calmer than other animals do.
- Fewer allergies: Researchers have noted that when children grow up in a home with a dog or cat, they are less likely to get allergies.
- Increased activity and weight loss: Want to lose some weight? Get a dog. Dog owners are often more active and less overweight than people who don't own a pet. Taking your dog for a daily 30-minute walk will keep you moving. It will also make sure you get the minimum amount of healthy physical activity. Some dogs may need more exercise, which will be great for both of you.
Exercise with your pet
If you exercise with your pet, you'll both benefit. If you're a cat owner, shine a flashlight on the wall or wave a string while you do aerobics. Your cat will get a healthy workout chasing the light, and you'll be very entertained. There are even yoga classes for people and their dogs, called doga.
Walking your dog or stretching with your cat can help strengthen bones and help manage problems such as arthritis. Walking a dog helps strengthen your bones and muscles while soaking up vitamin D from the sun. Regular exercise with your pets can reduce their chance of getting arthritis too, especially with larger breed dogs such as Labradors.
Pets are there for you
Pets make you feel good. If you've had a bad day, it's nice to come home to a wagging tail, a lick to the face, or a purr from your cat. They're ready to comfort and listen eagerly. They are there for you just when you need them. Your thoughts
You Tell Us
How has your pet helped you? Having a pet can help you in so many ways. Share how your pet (or pets) make your life better, and we'll share it in our next newsletter.