Pet Talk: Benefits of owning a pet include physical, mental and emotional improvements
January is here, and with the arrival of the new year comes our New Years resolutions. Over the years, your family physician has probably told you to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, increase your daily exercise and, of course, reduce your stress level.
Yet, has your physician ever said: “Head over to the local shelter and adopt a pet”? Most likely not, but read this.
We all wish we had the golden key to longevity, but studies have shown that pet ownership surely can contribute to health benefits for people through enhanced physical, mental and emotional improvements. How, you ask?
Benefits of pet ownership
First, studies through the National Institute of Health and the Centers for Disease Control have shown that pet owners have reduced blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, all which can contribute to a decrease in the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Second, pet owners have proven to be more physically active. By having a scheduled and regimented daily walk, pet owners have a much higher level of fitness. According to studies, just a one-hour walk per day can increase longevity up to seven years.
Third, pets boost immunity in children. Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have proven that having a furry friend in the house can lower the allergy potential in a child by 33 percent as well as cause children to have a stronger immune system overall.
Fourth, pets offer unconditional love and companionship making the pet owner a more emotionally balanced person feeling more loved and “complete,” thus lowering anxiety and emotional stress, especially in the elderly.
Fifth, pets offer a window to a more active social life. Through pets, owners can develop more social interactions with other pet owners, enhancing their social well-being thus enhancing their emotional well-being.
So the next time you are feeling frustrated with how you’re feeling emotionally, or physically, think about adding a furry friend to your household.
Sheila Fitzpatrick, DVM, owner of Mountain Mobile Vet and The Animal Hospital Center, submitted this column. You can reach her at 970-328-7085.