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The Health Benefits of Pet Ownership

Close your eyes and think about your pet for a moment. Whether it’s your favorite childhood pet or the one sitting right next to you, think about being with them and how that makes you feel.

It’s safe to assume that thinking about your pet makes you feel positively. It may even make you smile or laugh out loud. Why is that? Because your pet is someone who you love and have an emotional bond with.

While you probably already knew that your bond with your pet makes you happy, did you know that there are many legitimate health benefits to being a pet owner?

Studies show that the bond between pets and humans helps to:

1. Decrease blood pressure

+ By lowering your blood pressure, you improve your heart health, decrease your chance of a stroke, and protect your kidneys.

2. Decrease levels of cortisol

+ Cortisol is a stress-related hormone that manages how your body uses carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. High levels of cortisol can cause anxiety, depression, headaches, trouble sleeping, weight gain, and more.

3. Decrease cholesterol

+ Low levels of cholesterol reduce your risk of a heart attack.

4. Decrease triglyceride levels

+ High triglycerides may contribute to hardening of the arteries or thickening of the artery walls, which increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart disease.

5. Decrease feelings of loneliness

It’s amazing how may health benefits pet ownership has. But, our pets aren’t doctors, so how is this possible?

Our pets accomplish these health benefits by:

1. Increasing our opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities

2. Increasing our opportunities for socialization

3. Providing unconditional love and companionship

4. Providing a sense of responsibility to care for them

Since 2008, News in Health (NIH) and Mars Corporation have partnered to research how animals benefit our health, which animals have an impact on our health, and who can benefit from interactions with animals.

Dr. Layla Esposito, who oversees NIH’s Human-Animal Interaction Research Program, says, “There’s not one answer about how a pet can help somebody with a specific condition. Is your goal to increase physical activity? Then you might benefit from owning a dog. You have to walk a dog several times a day and you’re going to increase physical activity. If your goal is reducing stress, sometimes watching fish swim can result in a feeling of calmness. So there’s no one type fits all.”

However, there is one thing that all pets have in common. They all need our help to stay happy and healthy too. Visit our Vaccine Clinic’s page here to learn more about what vaccines and preventive medications your pet needs on a regular basis. For questions, please call us at (615) 512-5001.


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