Pets Are Great For Your Health

(Updated 2020)

It was a gloomy rainy day out and I wasn’t looking forward to venturing out into the rain and wind. That is until I saw my first Los Angeles dog training client for the day and their gorgeous German Shepherd Dog and Golden Retriever smothered me with kisses and was the happiest dog in the world just to be alive. Dogs have a magical way about them to always put a smile on one’s face and to remind people of how to be present, aware and to live in the now (carpe diem). To watch a dog, cat, bird, or fish….etc just be itself is a wonderful gift.

How can you possibly have a worry in the world when your best friend is by your side, loyal, happy, smiling, and giving you all of their attention? Not only do dogs make you happy, get you in shape, get you out of the house, and in touch with nature, but they also put a smile on your face and most faces that they come into contact with.

Pets transcend social classes, positions, hierarchies, egos, and all of the silliness that humans get caught up in on a daily basis. To watch, feel and hear a cat purr on your chest, a dog sitting at your feet keeping them warm (as I write this post), cuddled up next to you on the couch, or a bird chirping or singing a song is a heartwarming, soulful event that brings out the “humane” human in all of us.

Therapy dogs, emotional support dogs, and service dogs brighten the days and lives of all they come into contact with. From dogs that treat humans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to dogs that can detect insulin or cancer, they have all adapted to the many walks of human life. Dogs have the ability to make humans healthy, happier, and more fulfilled.

Dogs make people healthier

The majority of pet parents, lead better and healthier lives because of some of these reasons.

  • Get More Exercise – According to a Harvard Medical School publication, having a dog is likely your heart’s best friend as well and will greatly reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases in their parents. Studies have shown that people with canine companions who regularly walk their dogs are far less likely to be overweight or obese when compared to their petless peers.
  • Psychologically Speaking – A paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that the relationship that people enjoy with their pets doesn’t replace those they have with other people, but rather complement them. They also revealed that people with pets are less likely to feel lonely and have higher levels of self-esteem than those without.
  • Pets In The Workplace – In a similar report from the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, people who bring their pets to work have increased morale and cooperate with fellow employees more efficiently. Even simply having a pet in an office or other working environment has shown to reduce perceived levels of stress for workers.
  • Dogs and Cats In The Classroom – According to Dr. Alan Beck, a director at the Center for Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University, having a pet offers many rewards for adults including a better overall mood, reduced stress levels, and an increased amount of social connections. He also points to research that has found children relate better to those afflicted with autism when there is an animal present in the classroom. Beck stated, “Animals change the classroom environment and help to integrate those who are a little less typical.”
  • Infant Immunity – Researchers suspect that infant children who are exposed to animals at these younger ages are building up a tolerance towards pet-allergens like dander and bacteria. Their studies have shown that infants born in environments with dogs and/or cats are half as likely to develop allergies later in life. Apparently being exposed to animals after the first year of life seems to make no difference.
  • Cat Comforts – For feline lovers, investigators have found that the effects of purring can result in better bone and muscle health. A cat’s purr maintains a consistent pattern while they are inhaling and exhaling producing a sound frequency of between 25 and 150 hertz. Sound frequencies in this range can improve bone density and promote healing. They are also helpful with muscle, tendon, and ligament injuries along with muscle strengthening.

Having your four-legged friend with you at school, home, or work will give you a richer, happier, and longer life according to these sources. But for animal lovers, we’re already aware of the many joys that come with the unconditional love of our pets.

Dogs are amazing companions and offer a tremendous amount of benefits to even the most incredulous person. Whatever pet it is that you are fond of, show them some love and appreciation. Just taking your pup for a long dog walk, stimulating their mind and body is fulfillment and love for a dog. Of course, belly rubs and a scratch behind the ear are most appreciated as well. Petting your cat, admiring your fish, listening to birds are all forms of therapy and a blessing that have the power to change your mood instantaneously. Go ahead and try it!