6 ways your pet can make you healthier
Ask any pet owner and they’ll gladly share the
many reasons that they love having an animal in their household.
Pets are an important part of many families
across Australia, but did you know that pet ownership actually has a number of
important health benefits?
Here are just some of the reasons that a
furry, feathered or scaly friend can benefit your mental and physical health:
Just like humans, pets need regular exercise
to stay healthy. Dogs, in particular, make for excellent exercise companions,
providing not only company but a degree of accountability. The fact that your
pup is relying on you to take them for their daily walk is a great incentive to
get out the door and get moving.
A number of studies have found that owning a
dog may be connected with better heart health. Harvard Health Publishing reports that pet ownership, especially
having a dog, is probably associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular
disease and that owning a dog is associated with lower blood pressure and lower
cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This may be in part due to the positive
effect that pet ownership can have on a person’s stress levels - more on that
One of the most difficult parts of making new
friends, especially as an adult, is finding opportunities to meet and socialise
with other people. Owning a pet provides an opportunity to engage with other
people in the community. Whether you’re playing in the local dog park, going
for a walk or even waiting at the vet, just the fact that you own a pet means
that you have something in common to discuss with other animal lovers. Plus,
having a pet with you can make you seem more approachable, providing an
opportunity for potential friends to strike up a conversation.
feelings of loneliness
Most of us experience feelings of loneliness
at one point or another. Being able to express love to your pet through talking
or affection can alleviate these feelings. Plus, the unconditional love of a
pet is particularly reassuring during times of loneliness. Having a pet who’s
excited to see you when you return home is especially comforting, particularly
for people who live alone.
A 2004 study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that dogs and cats
lower a child’s chances of becoming allergic to pets by up to 33%. A 2016 study
in The New England Journal of Medicine supported
this principle, finding that children who grew up close to barnyard animals had
lower rates of asthma than their pet-less counterparts. While it’s obviously
important to wash or clean your pet regularly, the bacteria that they carry can
diversify the microbiome in your home, potentially bolstering the immune system
of your family members.
We all know the calming effect that a hug from
a loved one can have - and pets are no exception. Affection and physical touch
cause a release of a hormone called oxytocin, also known as the ‘love hormone’.
This chemical helps social bonding and - importantly - helps to regulate
The role of mindfulness is increasingly being
recognised as part of stress management, and pets may help you to practice
mindfulness and being present in the moment. Playing with or cuddling your pet
can help to disrupt unhelpful or negative thought patterns, providing a
pleasant distraction from your worries.
At Capital Chemist, we love our pets. Head to
our Facebook page to meet some of the animals that are part of the Capital