Positive Pets

A pet can bring many benefits to their owner. Being a pet owner will give you a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction, that is why having a pet around you at home can be a wonderful addition to one’s life. Pets are truly one of the most wonderful friends you will ever ask. They can instantly light up a room and turn a foul mood to a cheery one.

Pets can uplift a person’s mood. No matter how sad, angry, depressed or lonely you may be, spending some time with your pet will help you forget your problems. Studies show that having your favorite pet around you can reduce stress. You can count on your pets to be there for you in many ways that other people can’t. They can give you love and friendship, and can also enjoy comfortable silences. Animals can be the best antidote to loneliness. Pets can be the best companion one can ask for. They help in creating a positive environment and relieve stress. After a hard day’s work, a few moments with a pet can ease a lot of tension. Biologically, it has been shown that playing with a pet dog or cat can help in increasing levels of serotonin and dopamine in the body – two chemicals that have a calming and pleasure inducing properties. Studies have shown that people with pets are routinely less depressed than those that don’t.

Pet owners experience significant physical benefits from walking their dogs. Not only do these walks give owners daily physical activity, but the act of going outside and getting some fresh air can improve pet owners’ moods. For owners who spend a good deal of time alone, walks and trips to the dog park can provide great opportunities for social interaction.

How can pets help make healthy lifestyle changes:

  • Increasing exercise – Taking a dog for a walk, or simply chasing a kitten around are fun ways to fit healthy daily exercise into your schedule. Studies have shown that dog owners, for example, are far more likely to meet their daily exercise requirements than non-owners.
  • Providing companionship – isolation and loneliness can make disorders such as depression even worse. Caring for a living animal can help make you feel needed and wanted, and take the focus away from your problems, especially if you live alone. Most pet owners talk to their pets, some even use them to work through their troubles. Nothing beats loneliness like coming home to a wagging tail or purring cat.
  • Helping meet new people – pets can be a great social ice breaker for their owners. Dog owners frequently stop to talk to each other on walks or in a dog park. Pet owners also meet new people in pet stores, clubs, and training classes.
  • Reducing anxiety – the companionship of an animal such as a dog can offer comfort, help ease anxiety, and build self-confidence for people anxious about going out into the world.
  • Providing sensory stress relief – touch and movement are two healthy ways to quickly manage stress. This could involve petting a cat or taking a dog for a walk.

One of the reasons for these therapeutic effects is that most pets fulfill the basic human need to touch. Stroking, holding, cuddling, or otherwise touching a loving animal can rapidly calm and soothe us when we’re stressed. The companionship of a pet can also ease loneliness, and some pets are a great stimulus for healthy exercise, which can substantially boost mood. If you are thinking of adding a pet to your family, instead of heading to the local pet shop, visit the local SPCA or shelter and adopt an abandoned or homeless cat or dog.

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Man’s Best Friend

It is often said that a “cat has nine lives” and unfortunately we humans only are gifted with one. Though we don’t have the said nine lives of cats, owning a cat, or any pet for that matter, has been proven to be helpful in sustaining and improving our lives and health. Various studies have been conducted to show how pet ownership can greatly contribute to the health of humans and all of them have turned out remarkable results. A lot of our health depends on lifestyle choices, but our genetics, biology and chemistry also dictate how long and fruitful our lives are. As it turns out, our furry friends can vastly affect our chemistry and moods, thereby allowing us to live longer and be more emotionally stable.

Watching Animals Adds Years to Your Life
Anyone who has sat and just watched their animals frolic about and play will probably tell you that a feeling of calm has come over them. It’s not just the jolly playfulness that makes us relax and smile. Each time our moods shift, so too does the cortisol level within our bodies, especially when we feel happy and calm.

Cortisol is a natural hormone within the body and it is directly associated with the level of stress we feel when overwhelmed. A few minutes of watching your animal at play or playing with them can increase or balance our cortisol levels, giving us a peaceful feeling or diminishing the amount of stress we feel at that moment. The less stress we feel, the less instances of wear and tear our bodies experience, adding years to our lives over the long-term.

Lower Blood Pressure
Studies conducted by the American Heart Association have concluded that pet owners, specifically those that own dogs, have shown that individuals who own pets often have lower cholesterol levels as well as blood pressure levels that are lower.

One recent study showed that of the 5,200 adults, 54 percent who were dog owners had lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels than those who were not dog owners and in addition these owners were also less likely to be obese as their activity levels were higher than non-canine owners. Researchers have long noted lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in those with pets which is thought to be because pet owners often have less sedentary lifestyles than those who do not own pets.

Less Instances of Depression
This is not to say that some who deal with diagnosed depression should not seek out medicinal remedies such as therapy and medications which can help alter and balance the chemicals in our brains that contribute to depression and mania. However, many therapists and medical professionals often will prescribe pet ownership as another tool to combat these conditions and assist in recovering from depression.

In various studies, those who owned pets and spent time with them either talking or playing with them (or both!) reported that they felt better emotionally and that it also gave them added responsibility so there was less focus on being sad and more reason to get out of bed during the day.

Even simple acts such as petting a dog or cat was found to have a lasting and calming effect on those with depression as the focus of hardships is placed on the back burner and instead they are able to enrich their pet’s lives and their own at the same time.

Better Physical Fitness
This works more with dogs than other animals, but the FDA recommends that everyone get a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day. Owning a dog that requires walking each day for better health can also ensure that the pet owner meets these minimum requirements as well.

As an added benefit, weight loss often occurs but more importantly, when we walk our blood and circulation improves which contributes to better heart health overall. Your pet will appreciate the exercise and live longer themselves and they make excellent workout companions.

Fewer Strokes
Research has been done on cat owners and these studies show that those who spend a lot of time stroking and petting their cats have fewer instances of stokes. Though it isn’t entirely understood what the correlation is, some schools of thought include believing that the stroking assists in the blood flow and increases circulation, both of which can contribute to less instances of strokes.

Better Emotional Stability
We can’t help but talk to our furry friends and communication and interaction does wonders for the soul and mind. Studies show that conversing with our pets and interacting with them naturally makes us feel more calm and relaxed, and increasing our social interactions also increases the serotonin in our brains. Serotonin is responsible for the “good feelings” we have and thus by increasing the level, we naturally feel more at ease and happier.

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