Pets Do Our Bodies Good: Do You Agree?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Nothing makes me happier then to come home after a hectic day only to be met at the door by my beloved Miniature Schnauzer, Brooklyn (see photo left). No matter what is going on in my life she is a constant joy. In the past seven years, there hasn’t been a day where she doesn’t greet me tail wagging and ever so eager to welcome me home. Talk about unconditional love. There is nothing that beats the pure joy she brings to our family—in fact she is a member of our family.

And we are not alone in this thinking. Many people revere their pets just as much as their own children. In fact there have been a number of studies over the years demonstrating the health benefits our pets provide.

These benefits include:

  • Decreasing rates of depression
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Lowering heart rates
  • Increasing physical activity
  • Lowering stress
  • Decreasing anxiety
  • Increasing social bonds

  • According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Health one year survival rates for those who have suffered a heart attack were greatest amongst those people who owned a dog. In fact as early as 1987, the NIH actually led a two day workshop in Bethesda, Maryland on the health benefits of pets.

    Pets have even been credited in helping children suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder as well as teaching children responsibilities in the care they provide for their pets. Children who have pets in the home have also been shown to be more active.

    While there are mixed reviews as to whether animal visitation therapy for patients in the hospital or nursing home setting is beneficial, those who have observed the patients following such visits have stated their patients seemed to be less agitated and less depressed after the pet visits. Even patients in the Critical Care Unit setting have been shown to demonstrate lower heart rates, lowered blood pressure, and more relaxation after petting a dog.

    So the next time your non-animal loving friends or family think you dote too much on your beloved pet, tell them in all honesty, that’s OK, because our pets do our bodies good.

    Do you own a pet? Do they play an important role in your family?