Surprising Ways Your Pet Can Boost Your Health
By Pamela Shenk, CHt
Looking for a fun way to reduce stress and possibly lose weight? Get a pet. Most pet owners say their furry friends provide love, comfort and affection, but did you know that numerous studies have shown many health benefits to owning a pet?
Well, if it sounds too good to be true, take a moment to think about it: Have you ever come home from a stressful day at work and your dog greets you at the door? I’ll bet before you know it, you’ve forgotten about how stressed you were and you can start to relax a little.
On an emotional level, if you are a person who absolutely loves animals, then you understand the special kind of stress-relieving therapy that you can’t get anywhere else. (Yes, even though your dog or cat feels that you are the servant and he or she is entitled!)
As a pet owner, you know how much your four-legged companion improves your quality of life. But the positives don’t stop there. Studies show that having a pet can lift your spirits, lessen depression, lower your blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health, reduce stress hormones and boost levels of feel-good chemicals in the brain. It has even been proven that the act of petting your pet produces an automatic relaxation response. The other great thing about a pet is that they always shower you with unconditional love.
Some people feel alone or lonely and that can cause stress. These feelings may drive you to comfort yourself with food. Having a pet can often eliminate those feelings and give you a sense of emotional comfort. Pets offer real companionship. Heck, you can even have conversations with your pet and get responses! Plus walking your pet gives you a chance to exercise and allows you an opportunity to socialize more.
So, if you’re feeling stressed or lonely, you might consider getting a dog, cat or both. The benefits of having a pet may be too attractive for you to ignore. After all, it’s hard to feel overwhelmed by work or life in general when you get home and your pet comes running to greet you at the door.