April 12, 2024

The Health Benefits of Pets

As we celebrate National Pet Day this month (April 11th), we wanted to take a look at some of the expected, and unexpected health benefits of owning a pet – allergens and dander associated issues aside!

Pets have long been recognized as wonderful companions, but did you know that owning a pet can actually improve your Healthspan? Lifespan is how long you live, but Healthspan is an emerging wellness metric that refers to the number of years you live in good health, free from debilitating diseases or conditions. Research has shown that having a pet can have numerous positive effects on your physical wellness, mental well-being and overall Healthspan. One of the most well-known benefits of owning a pet is the increase in physical activity. Dogs, for example, require regular exercise, which means their owners are often more active as well. Regular walks or playtime with your pet not only helps to keep them healthy, but it also provides you with an opportunity to get moving and improve your cardiovascular health. Studies have shown that pet owners are more likely to meet recommended physical activity guidelines compared to those without pets. Pets can also have a positive impact on mental health. The bond between a pet and their owner can provide a sense of companionship and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. Interacting with pets has been shown to release oxytocin, a hormone that promotes feelings of happiness and reduces stress and can also help to lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. Many pets provide a great source of emotional support and can help to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. Caring for a pet can give individuals a sense of purpose and routine, which can be particularly beneficial for those struggling with mental health issues or feelings of loneliness. Pets are also great listeners and can provide a non-judgmental ear during times of stress or emotional distress. In addition to the mental and physical benefits, owning a pet can also improve your social life. Pets are great conversation starters and can help to foster connections with other pet owners in your community. Whether it’s at the dog park or during a neighborhood walk, pets can help to create social opportunities and combat feelings of social isolation. Our furry friends have a remarkable ability to improve our quality of life and overall Healthspan. From increasing physical activity to providing emotional support and improving our social lives, owning a pet can have a profound impact on our overall well-being. So, if you’ve been considering getting a pet, don’t hesitate! Your health and happiness will thank you.