Keeping a companion animal offers pet owners many physical health benefits, some of which they are not even aware of. The following comprehensive yet incomplete (the advantages of pet-keeping are just too many!) list of benefits provides a general insight into and overview of the physical impacts that pets can offer. For further description of each benefit, please click on the respective tab.
1. Better Physical Fitness
Dog owners tend to be more physically active and less overweight. The daily 15 to 30 minutes (or perhaps even longer!) walks that their furry companions need tend to keep owners moving and ensure that their minimum recommendations for healthy physical activity are met everyday, whether they want it or not. Even playing fetch with your dog will bring you about healthful bonuses!
2. Walk the Dog for Stronger Bones!
Building up strong bones is the best defense against fractures and even osteoporosis. Not surprisingly, walking your dog helps. It's a weight-bearing exercise that strengthens the bones as well as the muscles surrounding them. While walking your dog outdoors you also get to spend time under the sun, allowing you to soak up very valuable vitamin D!
3. Fewer Medical Appointments and Major Health Issues
Researches have shown that pet owners visit the doctor on a less occasional basis. They are also more likely to develop minor rather than major, and even fewer minor health issues as compared to non-pet owners. In fact, the use of prescribed drugs and overall cost of caring for patients are lower in nursing homes that included companion animals as part of their therapy programs.
For patients with illnesses, having a pet such as a dog has also helped them to cope with their health issues and complete their rehabilitation.
4. Fewer Allergies, Stronger Immunity
Researches have shown that children who grew up in a household with a dog or a cat are less likely to develop allergies. This finding similarly applies for kids who live on a farm with large animals. Apart from acquiring fewer allergies, these children also tend to have higher levels of certain immune system chemicals that facilitate for a stronger immune system.
5. Snack Alert for the Diabetics
A sudden drop in blood glucose levels can be harmful or even life-threatening for people with diabetes. Dogs can be trained to detect chemical changes in the body that give off a scent (i.e. dangerous drop in glucose levels), thereby allowing the owner to eat a snack before he or she actually goes into a hypoglycemia.
6. Managing Blood Pressure
Having a pet can help one to manage their blood pressure, although both healthy persons and patients are still highly advised to exercise and keep their weight in check. Pet owners have lower blood pressure and heart rates during rest or stress tests than non-pet owners.
7. Lowering Cholesterol
Managing cholesterol requires a comprehensive management plan that includes diet, exercise, and medication, but owning a pet may further aid the facilitation of efforts in avoiding the dangers of cholesterol. Researchers have discovered lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in pet owners, although this might also be due to their active lifestyles as a result of having a pet.
8. Cats and Dogs are Good for the Heart!
Pet owners have lower mortality risk from any cardiac disease, including heart failure. The lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels that pet owners have ultimately minimised their risk of heart attacks. Pet ownership furthermore increase the likelihood that heart patients would survived at least one year after hospitalisation.