Pets are magical creatures. As a source of companionship and unconditional love, they also give us an abundance of opportunities to laugh, connect with others and create funny YouTube videos. But that’s just the beginning. This year, the theme for National Pet Week is “Celebrate Healthy Pets”. While regular trips to the vet are vital for keeping your pet healthy and happy, did you ever stop to thank your pet for the health benefits they provide for you?
Numerous studies show that pets are not only good for our minds, but also good for our bodies. Chronic stress is a gateway to all sorts of health problems, and owning a pet is a great stress reliever. OK, maybe not so much during the puppy and kitten stage when they can be like miniature weapons of mass destruction, but with a little patience and training, it’s well worth the effort.
Just the simple act of petting a dog or cat can lower your blood pressure several points. While many of us hate the thought of getting up and going to the gym, we’re not quite so reluctant to get up, get outside and take a walk with the dog. Not only do we get the benefit of exercise and fresh air, walking the dog can even help us meet new friends or even potential partners – another mood booster! Pets also help boost our immune systems, and studies show that children in homes with pets are less likely to develop allergies.
Pets also reduce anxiety and relieve symptoms of depression or feelings of loneliness, which is why more hospitals, nursing homes, schools, rehabilitation centers and even prisons are incorporating animal-assisted therapy programs into their organizations. Here in Arizona, Gabriel’s Angels brings the healing magic of pets to help abused, at-risk and neglected children learn to develop trust, respect, empathy for others and other important life skills.
While you might think that all of these positive health benefits are limited to connections made with our furry friends, you’d be wrong. Many scientific studies show that interacting with fish, birds, horses, dolphins and many other animals can also relieve stress. Whether they’re furry, feathered or scaled, remember to thank your pet for all the health benefits they give to you by giving them the gift of good health through regular visits to the vet. Here’s to many happy years together!
A Video Thank You to Our Pets: click here