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Why Pets Are Good For Your Health

October 24, 2019

Were you one of those kids that had to beg Mom and Dad to get a puppy? If you didn’t get your way back then, it’s too bad you didn’t have the findings from a new research study that could have won them over.

 Table of Contents

Can Your Pet Make You Healthier?

According to a recent study, canine companions may be good for your health and well-being. And this is especially true for people who live alone.

Here is a summary of the study and its findings. Researchers at a university in Sweden reviewed the national registry records of more than 3.4 million Swedes, ages 40 to 80. These people had no history of cardiovascular disease in 2001. The researchers followed their health records as well as if they were a registered dog owner (I guess dog ownership registries are mandatory in Sweden). This continued for 12 years.

Dogs And Heart Health

The study found that dog owners had a lower risk of death due to cardiovascular disease, as well as a lower risk of death from other causes. The researchers adjusted for smoking, body mass index and socioeconomic status.

Now some skeptics may say that it’s possible that people who own dogs may just be more active and in better health to begin with. But it is also possible that taking care of a dog makes people more active and live a healthier lifestyle. You do need to walk and play with your dog regularly, right?

A dog

In May, 2013, The American Heart Association (AHA) released a statement associating pet ownership with reduced heart risk factors and greater longevity. The research leaned toward one type of pet – canis lupus familiaris - or more commonly known as the domestic dog.

How Pets Help Mental Health

We already talked about how owning a dog keeps you more active but there could be other explanations as well. Dogs can prevent loneliness. They are good companions. And they listen and don’t talk back!

Man on beach with dog

All pet ownership has been linked to human longevity. Pets provide human’s with natural everyday movement like getting up to feed a pet, ensuring water is always available, playing with our pet. Movement is good for our bodies.

For people living alone, pets can give us a reason to get up in the morning. This is also beneficial for the aged and those with chronic illnesses. Feeling unneeded and of no use has been identified as a risk factor in suicide. Interaction with pets can reduce stress. There is evidence petting an animal may reduce heart rates, and co-sleeping with pets may improve some people’s quality of sleep.

Pets can promote social interactions and conversations. This helps improve mental wellbeing. There is a link between heart disease and mental unwellness.

A cat next to a person's legs

How Cats Help Your Health

Okay, I have good news for cat lovers, too. Cats are a soothing and calming force. A quote from Muriel Spark, author of A Far Cry from Kensington, states, “A cat’s presence alone is enough. The effect of a cat on your concentration is remarkable, very mysterious.”

Do you know that there are places such as cat cafes where anyone can go and pet or cuddle a cat while having a soothing drink. You may think this isn’t very manly but they are really popular.

And cat Youtube videos are really, really popular. Research shows they make us happier and keep negative emotions at bay.

Cats taking a selfie

And what about that purr? "Sitting with a relaxed purring cat at the end of a hectic day is a soothing massage for the soul," explains Beth Skillings, a clinical veterinary officer at Cats Protection. And the frequency of the purr vibration is in the range that can stimulate healing. Cool, huh?

Cats can also bring physical health benefits to their owners. For instance, one study that Medical News Today previously covered found that people who live with cats have a lower risk of experiencing a heart attack.

For those of you with children, early exposure to cats is also associated with a lower risk of asthma in children, according to research published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology last year. I have a great benefit for you single men, research conducted by leading pet researcher, Dr. June Nicolls, found that women were more likely to be attracted to men with pets, with a whopping 90 percent of single women perceiving men with cats as nicer and more caring than those without. That’s a pretty high percentage!

So as long as your lifestyle permits (and you are not allergic), look into getting a pet if you are not already a pet owner.

Man hiking with a dog on a mountain

Our mission with our Dreambrands blog is to give you researched information you can use to stay healthy. And our lovable furry friends are one of the unique ways of doing that.

 

 

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