Pets & Their Surprising Health Benefits

Dog Humor

There’s only so much broccoli you can eat and soft drinks that you can’t. While diet and exercise play a gargantuan role in the state of our physical health, scientists and doctors are increasingly realizing just how important our mental health is and the impact it has on our physical.

So while more and more of us sift through the positive thinking and self help books looking for a cure, trying various yoga positions and learning how to meditate, an increasing number of people are finding – as humans have always done – that pets have a surprising number of health benefits. The research seems to back it up as well, as the following studies will show.

But wait, I don’t have a pet!

It’s very easy to dismiss such evidence by saying that you don’t have a pet. If you truly connect with the research and feel that pets are something you should have in your life, but for certain reasons can’t, try one of these three options.

1)      Look after your friend’s pets: Everybody who has a cat or a dog will be more than grateful if you agree to look after them for a weekend so that they can get away. Even if you can’t do that, just offering to take the dog out for a stroll is a godsend to most people.

2)      Become a pet sitter: Pet owners who are planning to go away on a longer vacation, and don’t have any friends who are able to look after their animals while they’re away, are increasingly using pet sitting websites to connect with people who are willing. While it may mean that you only look after pets for a couple of weeks of the year it could be the most relaxing few weeks of your year as well!

3)      Get a fish: Most people, regardless of their circumstances are able to look after a fish, and although you can’t cuddle them, fish have been shown to have relaxing benefits as well.

The Studies

Pets reduce blood pressure

Pet owners tend to have lower blood pressure than those that don’t according to recent studies. Scientists are still trying to work out whether this is due to the comfort they bring, or as Queen’s University in Belfast propose, because of the walking that’s involved with dogs, which has separately been proven to lower blood pressure.

Pets are good for the ageing

Pet owners tend to have a lower rate of diseases like Alzheimer’s than their non-pet-owning counterparts according to Lynette Hart, PhD, associate professor at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. The jury is still out on what the exact benefits are, but one insurance company, Midland Life, is known to ask patients over 75 if they have a pet, which has been said to reduce life insurance policy rates.

Pets can get you a date!

According to a study carried out by pet social networking site Kloof, there are five breeds of dogs that make both men and women who own them more desirable to date. Beagles, Poodles and Chihuahuas are good for attracting men, while Siberian Huskies and German Shepherds tend to attract women. Retrievers, both golden and Labrador, seem to work on both sexes.

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