Want to be healthier? Adopt a pet this April!

Posted on April 11, 2016 by admin
Did you know that your furry friends can help make you healthier? While we’re all familiar with animal dander allergies or respiratory problems in response to animals that may affect an individual’s health negatively, there are plenty of reasons that your pet may actually make you healthier!
  • Pets can have positive effects on our cardiovascular health, by lowering our blood pressure and heart rate [1]. For this reason, cats especially are suggested to decrease risk of stroke! [2]
  • By some sort of magic, petting a dog may actually lower cholesterol levels [1]
  • Pet owners are more socially engaged than non-pet owners—which makes sense especially for dog owners who are active in their communities getting their pup some exercise.
  • Seniors with pets are also in better physical health than those without pets, and are able to better perform activities of daily living! [1]
  • Walking regularly—as will happen with a dog!—helps to decrease osteoporosis risk. [2]
  • For people with rheumatoid arthritis, playing with and walking dogs can help to keep joints loose and decrease pain [2]
  • Pets help children—especially those without siblings—with social and emotional development  [1]
  • Kids who grow up in a home with a cat or dog often have less allergies and asthma risk than those who do not have a pet (I’ve wanted a dog forever, so I definitely use this to suggest my parents make up for my asthma this way ;). [2]
Murray, a black lab, lounges on the floor smiling at the camera at eye level.
My buddy Murray–taking a break from his work as my friend Steve’s Guide Dog and being a playful puppy! Click his picture to visit him on Twitter!

The health benefits of pet ownership are significant, as you’ve just read—and, this does not even bring into account those animals who are specially trained to keep their human partners safe and healthy. Service dogs are trained to work with individuals with a variety of conditions—from diabetes and alerting the handler to low blood sugar, to epilepsy and alerting to and assisting in the event of a seizure, and even sniffing out allergens that a person may have life-threatening reactions to—to providing supportive care for individuals with anxiety or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. These dogs are specially trained from a very young age to be on high alert for their human partners and assist them in the event they are needed—smart puppies, for sure!
Animals form a sense of loyalty and a bond with humans like no other—this doesn’t change whether that animal is a service animal responding to an emergency or a dog barking at a mailman, pets want their humans to be happy, and they want to be happy and healthy in return! For pets who may have some special medical needs, one of our keychains can easily be modified to be a pet medical ID tag for your furry friend in case he or she gets lost, notifying the right people that some extra care might be needed until they are brought home.
Did you know that April is Shelter Animal Awareness month? There’s no better time to adopt a new animal friend and improve your health at the same time!

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