Researchers Discover Health Benefits of Hairy Friends
Today I’ve got some very surprising news for you. This may be one of the easiest and most enjoyable things you can do to improve your health.
What I’m talking about is having a pet.
Strange as it may seem, pets have been proven by science to dramatically improve human health.
For example, did you know that owning a pet can significantly reduce your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and other serious illness? Studies by the American Heart Association and others have concluded pet owners are far healthier than non-pet owners.
In today’s article I’ll show you how owning a pet can be a blessing for both your emotional and physical health.
Dogs and Cats Both Good for the Heart
According to the American Heart Association, owning a pet can reduce your risk of heart disease by as much as 55 percent!
In particular, dog owners do far more walking and other physical activity than non-dog owners. In fact, they were almost 55 percent more likely to do the recommended level of heart-healthy physical activity.
Many heart-health studies focus on dog ownership. This is understandable, since owning a dog forces us to get out and walk more often than we might otherwise. But cats also offer many health benefits.
For instance, living with either a dog or cat has been linked to much lower rates of blood pressure, heart disease, and anxiety. This is compared with non-pet owners.
Cat owners specifically have a whopping 40 percent lower risk of heart attacks than non-cat owners.
Surprised by this fact, scientists sought to find the reason. It turns out that a cat’s purr, which emits low frequency vibrations, has been called a natural healing mechanism by researchers. The purr may actually help heal wounds, relieve pain, and strengthen and repair bones, according to recent studies.
According to several recent studies, heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those who have no pets. Pet owners have fewer signs of heart disease, with lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels than non-pet owners.
Pets Offer Health Benefits to People in All Walks of Life
Research has shown that pets provide unique benefits to people with various circumstances. Here are some of the highlights.
Elderly. The elderly are faced with two big hurdles as they grow older: inactivity and isolation. Owning a dog increased their activity levels across the board. Why? Because dog owners take over twice as many walks than people who don’t own dogs.
It also increased their interactions with others by providing a chance for conversations during the walks. Elderly pet owners reported more satisfaction with their emotional, physical, and social states than non-owners.
Besides healthy elderly, pet studies have also been done on Alzheimer’s patients. They show that patients suffer fewer anxious outbursts when there is a pet in their lives. They also show less general anxiety and lower blood pressure.
Children. Men these days are having children later in life. For those of us who are still caring for children, it’s worth noting that pets have proven benefits for children as well.
Studies have shown that children who own pets have higher levels of self-esteem. They are also able to function better emotionally than kids without pets. Here is something you might find surprising. Babies living with a dog in their first year of life have a lower risk of ear and respiratory infections. They also need fewer antibiotics than babies in homes without pets.
Researchers think this might be because dogs track more bacteria and dirt into homes. This added exposure to bacteria helps to strengthen the immune system in children. The same thing was found for children living with cats.
Adults. A major study was conducted on stockbrokers in New York City being treated for high blood pressure. Brokers who adopted a cat or dog saw an immediate drop in their blood pressure and reported felt calmer than those who didn’t adopt a pet. That’s quite an endorsement for having a pet around the house.
Singles. People who live alone but own a pet were found to be in better health than singles who were not pet owners. It didn’t matter if they were divorced, separated, or widowed. The pet provided a sense of family for them.
Couples. Pet owning couples are less stressed by conflicts and make faster recoveries when conflicts occur. They also report more sociability and general happiness than couples without pets.
Pets Help Mind and Soul
Pet owners are much less likely to suffer from depression than non-pet owners. This is especially true when people are attached strongly to their pets. They also have lower levels of harmful chemicals in their blood, like cortisol and norepinephrine. These negatively impact the immune system. They also contribute to plaque buildup in arteries, a big red flag for heart disease.
Playing with a pet helps elevate levels of brain chemicals associated with pleasure and soothing.
Conclusion: Share Your Life with Pets
By now it should be clear that owning a pet is good for your health, both emotionally and physically. Anyone who has ever owned a pet probably knows this without needing to be told.
The feelings of love and camaraderie derived from pet ownership can be better than any drug for improving your health and sense of well being. The unconditional love your pet gives you can be unmatched by anything, sometimes even by humans.