How Pets Keep Us Healthy

We at Northwest Wellness certainly love our pets!  Not only are they a great source of love and companionship but they also have numerous positive effects on our physical and emotional health. In fact, for nearly 25 years, research has shown that living with pets provides certain health benefits. Pets help lower blood pressure and lessen anxiety. They boost our immunity and improve our social interactions.

Allergy Fighters

"The old thinking was that if your family had a pet, the children were more likely to become allergic to the pet. And if you came from an allergy-prone family, pets should be avoided," says researcher James E. Gern, MD, a pediatrician at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

However, a growing number of studies have suggested that kids growing up in a home with "furred animals" -- whether it's a pet cat or dog, or on a farm and exposed to large animals -- will have less risk of allergies and asthma.

Meeting New Friends

Dogs are great for making connections for friends or even dates. Forget Internet matchmaking -- a dog is a natural conversation starter. This especially helps ease people out of social isolation or shyness, Nadine Kaslow, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University in Atlanta, tells WebMD.

Decrease the Effects of Aging

"Studies have shown that Alzheimer's patients have fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home," says Lynette Hart, PhD, associate professor at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. "Their caregivers also feel less burdened when there is a pet, particularly if it is a cat, which generally requires less care than a dog," says Hart.

Walking a dog or just caring for a pet can provide both exercise and companionship

Good for Mind and Soul

Pet owners are far less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets. "The benefit is especially pronounced when people are strongly attached to their pets," says researcher Judith Siegel, PhD.  In one study, stockbrokers with high blood pressure who adopted a cat or dog had lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations than did people without pets.

People in stress mode have harmful chemicals like cortisol and norepinephrine can negatively affect the immune system.  Studies show a link between these chemicals and plaque buildup in arteries, the red flag for heart disease, says Justice.  Like any enjoyable activity, playing with a dog can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine -- nerve transmitters that are known to have pleasurable and calming properties.

Good for the Heart and Cardiovascular Health

Heart attack patients who have pets survive longer than those without, according to several studies. Male pet owners have less sign of heart disease -- lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels -- than non-owners, researchers say.  Additionally, walking your pet or the other activities associated with owning a pet increase activity levels which is also good for the cardiovascular system.

 

For more information about health and wellness please contact Northwest Wellness in Federal Way, WA at 2539270660