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It’s Not All Fur & Games…It’s Also Health Benefits

It’s no secret people love their animals. There are entire industries dedicated to helping showcase if we’re a “dog mom,” a “cat dad,” or if we have “grandpups on board.” Signs adorn houses reminding you it’s their house so “yes, they sit on the furniture.” You can buy dryer sheets that help prevent those unsightly bits of fur that leave the house with you on your blazer or your dress pants.  Some of us wear those pieces of animal fur like badges of honor, we even have shirts that remind you it’s not dog hair “it’s canine confetti.” So, we’re fully aware that loving an animal is something we care about (and share about)!

But, what you may not know is you’re getting health benefits out of having a pet in your life. The CDC says studies show the bond between people and their pets is linked to several health benefits. Some of those benefits include a decrease in:

  • blood pressure
  • cholesterol levels
  • triglyceride levels, and
  • feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and symptoms of PTSD.

Research has shown older adults have a healthier aging process while in the presence of a pet. A pet can help older adults combat loneliness and depression, as well as encourage exercise and allow opportunities for socialization. Pets are known to assist older adults in reducing their stress and improving cognitive function. They’ve even been credited with assisting in the long-term care for patients suffering with life-altering diagnoses such as dementia or Alzheimer’s.

We all know walking the dog is good for us. Who couldn’t use more steps? But, if you’re a cat lover, rest assured you have your own set of health benefits that are just as significant. A study of 2,400 cat owners showed (over a 20 year span) there was a significantly lower relative risk of death due to diseases including stroke and heart attack, for those who owned a cat vs. those who didn’t.

We all know that cats own us, we don’t own them. But, now we also know that besides providing us with love, affection, and sometimes great profile pictures – animals are providing additional health benefits to our every day lives.

Thank your cat or dog – and then go for a walk. All of that will be good for your health.