Who rescued whom? Pets are amazing companions, and their impact on our lives is as great as ours on theirs. It’s true! They’re always around when you need a friend and they’ll joyfully welcome you home after a long day. Animals are also great protectors, alerting you to possible threats, and even saving you when danger appears. And, with simple, daily acts, like bringing in the newspaper and leaving it at your feet, pets show how much they love you each and every day. As if their unconditional love wasn’t enough, did you know pets can actually be good for your health, too? Yep! Here are the top five ways pets have a pawsitive impact on your health.1. Get you moving
If you’ve got a dog, you’ve got a live-in exercise partner. Even though you may be a homebody, Fido will need to head outside several times a day. During these adventures, you’ll not only get a breath of fresh air, you’ll be squeezing in a mini workout that supports heart health. Bonus: if it’s sunny outside you’ll also get an extra boost of vitamin D! If you can’t take your dog for a long walk, try two 15-minute or three 10-minute walks instead. Don’t stop there! Play fetch, hike or jog with your dog or even take a doga class (that’s yoga for you and your dog) to keep you both fit and fabulous.
2. Boost your immune health
Spinach isn’t the only thing helping your kiddos grow strong! Animals can boost your children’s immune system and help them avoid illness. Consider this: studies show that kids with pets tend to have stronger immune systems than kids who live in homes without pets. Babies who live with pets develop less colds and ear infections in their first year than their pet-less counterparts. They are also less likely to develop allergies and asthma as they grow older.
3. Help you make friends
Cat got your tongue? If you’re shy and introverted, a pet can help you break out of your shell. Having a pet can help you become more outgoing and social. People with strong social circles are known to live longer, healthier lives. When I adopted my dog, I noticed how much more I interacted with my neighbors. Not only were people stopping and asking to pet her on our walks, but I regularly started visiting the community dog park. I made friends with the other pet-parents there. I’ve even had more ways to connect with my own friends who also had dogs. We make plans to visit the park or beach with our dogs—fun for them and us!
4. Reduce your stress levels
Spending time with a trusted fur-baby can help decrease your stress levels and increase feelings of peacefulness. Cats, in particular, are known to make people feel calm. In fact, the frequency range of their purring has been proven to have therapeutic qualities. Next time the blues have got you down, just cuddle with your kitty. Feeling anxious or stressed? You can’t sulk in bed forever. You’ll have to get up and feed the cat or walk the dog. They will insist on it, if they’re anything like my pets. No matter what you’ve got going on, you’ve got someone depending on you—and that tends to be great motivation to get up and keep moving on.
5. Keep you happy
The real point is, pets make you happy. Animal lovers know, the amount of love and joy they bring to your life is indescribable. Whether you’ve got a dog, cat, bird, horse or guinea pig, pets are great companions. They make you less lonely, give you a sense of belonging and bring meaning to your life. They will love you unconditionally. This will not only improve your mood on a daily basis, but you’ll feel happier overall.