A New Year begins in a few days, and during this time many people make resolutions for better health. If you’re one of those who resolves steps to better health and if you’d like to not give your doctor as much money in 2017, here’s a simple solution: get a pet!
Did you know having a pet provides health benefits? Maybe not money-wise as far as many those insurance premiums, but certainly benefits in both physical and emotional health.
Various organizations, including the Center for Disease Control and other health groups, echo the physical and emotional health benefits that pets provide people. For example, having a dog increases your chances of getting physical exercise, such as walking, hiking, and stretching (think about when you throw the ball for Fido in a game of fetch).
Many studies show people with pets have lower cholesterol and triglycerides, lower blood pressure, and decreased stress. The simple act of petting a dog or cat helps us relax a bit. Pets can also decrease feelings of loneliness, fear and anxiety. Walking your dog can increase your socialization interactions, and pets in households with Alzheimer’s patients have been known to help those patients reduce their outbursts. People are less likely to suffer from depression if a pet or two resides in the home, and older people with pets enjoy better health both emotionally and physically.
Pets offer people many emotional and physical health benefits. Some animals can even help predict seizures, discover cancers, and alert people to low blood sugar attacks. Dogs and cats have been known to warn their owners of dangers, such as intruders and fire, and many have risked their own lives to protect or rescue their human companions. Pets give us their devotion and companionship, and we reap great benefits from their presence in our lives.
For more information on the emotional and physical benefits of pets, visit the following websites:
Christmas is over. I enjoyed time with family and friends and much of that time was shared with my pets. -- and I still have a few days to be at home with them as we approach the New Year. My furry friends have been, and are, a constant reminder of what love and loyalty really are – the great comfort they bring when one has a stressful or difficult day, the joy they bring because they are always happy to see you, the solace they offer when you're ill, and the special companionship they give just simply by “being there.” Pets are truly amazing creatures!
I have been a pet owner since childhood. Both cats and dogs have graced my life and my home. As a child growing up on an Iowa farm, I spent endless hours outdoors, taking care of the animals and walking the woods surrounding our place. Most times, either a dog or cat accompanied me. Those memories transcend time and impact my life today.
I have an office set up at home, a space I use for my writing projects. I am rarely alone in that room. Furry friends surround me: Cody snoozing on a dog bed a short distance from my desk, Mary lying near the office chair, and Murphy either lying right next to the computer or on her cat bed on top of the printer. Often in the midst of my concentration, I pause and glance over at one or all of them – they want to be where I am. Their loyalty and dedication rivals most human friendships … and their presence brings calm to my often chaotic life, especially when I face deadlines. Yes, pets can be a lot of work – walking the dog, entertaining the cat, taking care of them when they're sick (vet bills can be very expensive!), training, food, etc. … but what they give us in return is priceless!
What bonds a pet to a person? People are the caregivers of their pets, feeding, exercising, playing, petting, lounging; we are the guardians. The more one positively interacts with their pet, the stronger the bond. Loyalty is inherent, especially in a dog.
We can learn a lot from our pets, including lessons in loyalty and love. Broken relationships, greed, selfishness and other negative traits often found in humans are rarely displayed in our pets. There’s a saying that goes, “May I become the person my dogs thinks I am.” Such a plaque hangs on my wall. Such a philosophy reigns in my heart.
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.