April is officially Pets Are Wonderful Month (PAW), a time to honor the animals that bring love and happiness to our lives. There’s no question that our pets give us love and companionship daily, but they are also benefit our physical and mental health too.
Research has shown that pets can improve our cardiovascular health, reduce stress, decrease loneliness and depression, and facilitate social interactions among people who have pets. That’s why pets are so frequently used in nursing homes, for people with disabilities and children with autism. Here are five benefits of having a pet:
Good for the heart
In one study, people who never owned a cat were 40 percent more likely to die of a heart attack than those who did. Another study showed that people who owned dogs had a significantly better survival rate after one heart attack. In general, pet owners have a lower risk of dying from any cardiovascular disease than non-pet owners. Owning pets has also show to lower your blood pressure too.
Pets are natural mood enhancers; just a few minutes of watching your cat or dog play will instantly reduce your anxiety and stress levels. Therapists have even prescribed pets as a way of dealing with depression. Because no one loves you more unconditionally, or listens to you talk without interruption, than your pet. Having a pet can brighten even the worst of days!
Better physical fitness
While this one may be a given, people who have pets tend to be more physically active and less obese than those who don’t. And exercising with your pet will benefit both of you! Just two 15-minute walks a day will ensure you meet the minimum recommendations for physical activity. Plus, who makes a better exercise buddy than your four-legged friend?
Having an active social life is key to staying healthy. And pet owners have a tendency to interact with other pet owners. A dog is an instant conversation starter. Bring your furry friend to the local dog park and the social interaction will blossom.
Sense of security
Pets also provide us with a sense of security. Dogs in particular can alert us of potential hazards and intruders. They can also seek help in emergencies. For example, the “seizure dog” has been trained to live and work with people who have epilepsy. They bark to alert parents when a child is having a seizure. Some even lie next to a person having a seizure in order to prevent injury.
Here at Ketchum, we were thrilled to find out that April was National Pets Are Wonderful month. So, get out there and hug your furry friends today. We sure will!