There has been much said about the many ways that pets cause health hazards to people. From pregnant women emptying dirty cat litter and allergens in pet dander to dog bites and eczema brought on by fur, pets take the wrap for a host of health hazards. However, there are also loads of ways that pets- and dogs in particular- improve our health.
Here are 5 specific instances in which dogs rescue us in the health department:
Exercise: It’s a no-brainer that when you have a dog, you just walk more than if you didn’t. ABC News report that studies from the American Journal of Public Health and the American Journal of Preventive Medicine have both confirmed that “children with dogs spend more time doing moderate to vigorous activity than those without dogs, and adults with dogs walk on average almost twice as much as adults without dogs.”
Cardiovascular Benefits: Besides the effects of exercise on cardiovascular health, owning dogs brings a sense of calm and peace that enhance a person’s cardiovascular condition over the long run. There is also a reduced risk of high blood pressure and cholesterol levels for dog owners. Plus, a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology reports that “male dog owners were less likely to die within one year after a heart attack than those who did not own a dog.”
Doctor Visits: In general, people who own dogs go to the doctor less. In a study out of Australia, dog and cat owners made significantly less visits to the doctor than those who didn’t own pets.
Illness: When people are hospitalized for long periods of time, they benefit dramatically from visits with dogs trained in pet therapy as well as visits from their very own pups from home. Luckily, more hospitals are realizing this and along with help from pet organizations, creating programs in which sick children and adults can have hospital visits from their own pets. The results have been amazing.
Anxiety: There is perhaps nothing better than taking care of a dog and giving and receiving the unconditional love that only a pup can bring to person who is worried or anxious. When my daughter was first diagnosed with an autoimmune disease at the age of 9, we adopted an adult Chihuahua who had encountered a lifetime of suffering herself. Hayley has been abused and required a LOT of attention and pampering. My daughter desperately needed something to take her mind off her ailments and there was no better remedy for her anxiety and panic attacks brought on by her disease than to care for this abused little dog. Five years later, they have helped each other very much to heal and retain a very special, loving relationship.
Source: ABC News
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