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Friday, July 26, 2024

How your pets help reduce stress, improve your well-being

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Thinking about bringing home a pet? Having a pet may help decrease the stress that may envelop you on certain days. Then again, owning a new pet entails a lot of work, and commitment. You need to make sure you are up to the challenge of properly caring for a pet and have the resources to do so.  Once you are sure you can be a responsible pet owner, the payoffs can be huge.  Here are some benefits of pet ownership:

Cuddling with pets decreases stress 

1. Pets have a reassuring, calming effect

Research supports the efficacy of the human-animal bond and the therapeutic, calming effect of pets on people in a variety of settings. Pets at home can bring delight. Some pet dogs and cats have amusing antics and endearing qualities that may bring joy to their owners. Their affectionate, loyal and amusing ways can help ease stress. Pet ownership also gives a person a sense of purpose. Cuddling and playing with pets can also lead to the release of the feel-good chemical serotonin, and decrease production of the stress hormone cortisol. Research uncovered that petting a pooch or feline pet can help lower a person’s blood pressure reading. Watching fish in an aquarium is known to have the same effect. By offering companionship and a listening ear to their masters, pets in effect help improve mental health.

Patrick Sugui with his furry canine pet

2. Pets help improve physical health

Apart from helping release the feel-good chemical serotonin, and decreasing production of the stress hormone cortisol, playing with pets can physically rev up your body.  Most pets require a daily form of exercise, like a daily 30-minute walk, playing fetch, jogging, hiking, running and agility training. Dog owners are motivated to walk more often and take longer walks with their pets in tow. Indeed, having a family dog increases physical activity not just of mature pet parents but also adolescent pet owners. Moreover, there are studies that point out how pet owners may also have increased odds of surviving for at least a year after having a heart attack. Pet owners with high blood pressure may also possibly keep their blood pressure lower with the help of their pooches.

3. Therapy animals to the rescue

Besides encouraging social interactions, pets are used alongside conventional medicine for therapy. Therapy animals typically visit hospitals, work in therapeutic settings, or are utilized to assist the disabled. Such pets are trained to behave in public and can bring immense comfort to those people in need. Foster homes are also needed for therapy animals in training.

4. Reduced risk of allergies & asthma from pets

Most people think that because pets have hair and shed it from time to time, they are health hazards.  The notion is that it can trigger allergies and asthma and lower one’s immune system. Surprisingly, studies found that exposure to a pet during infancy may mean less chance of the individual developing such reactions in adulthood. Scientists theorized that it is because the immune system becomes desensitized to allergens.  Hence, exposure to pets early on in a child’s life can make the tot less reactive to dander and allergens.


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