The Connection: Our Health and Our Pets
What is the connection between our health and our pets you may ask.
Why do we love our dog or cat so much?
How does your health benefit from your relationship with your furry one?
What do they provide that makes us treat them like family?
Innate Connection! Boundless joy! Happiness! Loyalty! Companionship to name a few. Many people are born loving animals while others ease into being pet owners. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), most homes in the US have at least one pet which is great news since pet owners have been shown to have better health.
Health Benefits of Owning a Pet
Owning a pet can decrease your:
- Blood pressure,
- Cholesterol levels,
- Triglyceride levels, and
- Feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety
Pets also get you outdoors more often which increases your chances of exercising and socializing. After all, who can deny a pooch with a leash in tow, prancing around the house and aiming for the door? Very few.
“these children had fewer respiratory infections and ear infections, and took less antibiotics”
Help Teach Kids Responsibility
When a puppy, kitten, hamster or goldfish comes home, all is good in the world. Little by little the responsibilities of potty training, belly rubs, walking the dog, cleaning the litter box or the fish tank can lose their luster. On the bright side, owning a pet teaches kids to be consistent with their chores and responsibilities. Kids learn that their pet:
- needs food, water, shelter and exercise
- is dependent on them for most of their needs
- needs love, attention and entertainment
In return, pets give unconditional love and loyalty to the whole family. The bond between a child and their pet can last many years and can be extremely rewarding, especially for heart health. Pets are great teachers and help build a healthy emotional balance of love, affection, companionship, intimacy and nurturance. It’s a win-win situation.
Plus, the journal Pediatrics recently published a study that showed that children that had a pet during their first year of life were healthier than kids without one. These kids had fewer respiratory infections and ear infections, and took less antibiotics.
Obviously some pets require more time and attention than others (do you need help with allergies?), so it is wise to not get carried away when adopting a new pet. For more information on how to get your kids involved with their pets, visit the American Veterinary Medical Association’s website. The San Diego Humane Society is also another great resource.
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