Many people already know this, but animals naturally make people feel good. Although, it is much more than just the mere presence of an animal that really makes a difference when it comes down to staying healthy and happy. There are many ways a favorite pet can continue to improve an individuals health. Such as...
1) stress, tension and anxiety relief. (The stress hormone, cortisol, is lowered and the feel-good hormone serotonin is elevated in order to combat stress, anxiety and tension that causes wear and tare on your whole body.)
2) keeping your blood pressure at healthy levels. (Research has shown that blood pressure and heart rates are much lower with pet owners compared to those people who do not have any pets.)
3) lowering bad cholesterol levels. (Life style factors of pet owners, such as having to walk the dog or do other chores when caring for a pet, can help contribute to lower cholesterol levels and triglycerides).
4) less risk of dying from cardiac disease or heart failure if a person owns a cat or dog, according to past research studies.
5) gentle contact with animals helps to fight depression. (The unconditional love from a pet, that includes unbiased listening from an animal, reduces depression challenges. Just being able to take care of a pet helps to give a person a sense of being needed and loved as well.)
6) increased physical activity. (Such as walking the dog and even cleaning the fish tank keeps people from just sitting around. Plus, having an exercise buddy improves a person's health with daily walks, or even dog yoga. Having a cat chase a laser helps give pet owners some entertainment too.)
7) fewer stroke problems. (Pets bring a nice calming effect upon their owners.)
8) less isolation and more physical interaction. (Loneliness has a huge negative impact on good health. Taking the dog to dog parks also helps people interact with others of like minds.)
9) animals help build a stronger immunity with less allergies. (Many research studies have proven that by living with a variety of pets early in life can help prevent serious allergies that effect health later in life.)
10) asthma prevention, from allergy development. (Although there is one exception. If a mother has a cat allergy and her children are exposed to cats early in life, they are more likely to develop asthma later in life).
11) diabetes alarm. (About 1 in 3 dogs can naturally learn how to alert their owners of a potential diabetic attack. The dogs seem to be detecting a chemical change and learn that this means trouble for their loving owners.)
12) dogs help with therapy. (Many therapists have therapy dogs within their businesses to help improve the mental health care they provide for their patients. The dogs provide comfort and many patients will open up more readily when interacting with a dog.)
13) help with cancer research. (Both dogs and cats can get the same cancers as humans. Thus,by helping researchers understand and study the cancers in animals can improve human health.)
14) animals can improve ADHD. (By helping those with ADHD difficulties focus more when having to take care of a pet, as well as improving sleep and self-esteem in children due to the unconditional love pets give.)
15) reducing sensory difficulties within autism patients. (Certain textures, smells and sounds are a huge challenge for those on the autism spectrum. But pets can help people with autism learn how to cope more effectively when a pet is present.)
16) reduce potential problems with low Vitamin D levels in the blood and osteoporosis. (Having to walk the dog makes people get outside to soak up the sun's natural Vitamin D and reduces the risks of developing brittle bones.)
17) manage arthritis by keeping active with the family pet. (Keeping active reduces pain and keeps joints moving more effectively. Such as walking the dog or playing fetch.)
18) horses helping stroke patients regain strength and balance. (Many stroke patients have weakness that occurs on one side. Horse back riding can help stroke patients stretch and regain better mobility and balance.)
19) providing pain relieving warmth. (Just by having a warm pet resting next to sore and swollen joints, fibromyalgia effected areas or other chronic pain disorders can help reduce pain. Dogs and cats can be natural heating pads.)
20) alerting to potential seizures. (Many pets have the ability to sense an upcoming seizure attack with their owners. That is why certain dogs are trained as seizure alert service dogs and many become life savers to their owners.)
21) sustaining a person's independence. (Many dogs are also trained service dogs that help with daily chores around the house in order to help their owners stay more independent.)
22) increasing quality of life. (Trained therapy animals help boost moral with hospitalized patients when they come and visit. Nothing can replace the kisses and cuddles such animals provide to people in need.)
23) providing a calming presence and potential therapeutic opportunities. (Animals give off a certain calming energy that can help a variety of patients. And some therapy animals are trained to provide various therapies to improve health problems from many disorders.)
Animals also help console and comfort those who may also be dying from disease as well. This includes the recent viral story of a man that was dying from the final stages of brain cancer. He was a volunteer care giver for a loving giraffe for many years of it's life in a Netherlands zoo. With special permission and transport from the ambulance wish foundation, he was able to say goodbye to the giraffe while the animal gave him gentle kisses to comfort him during this difficult time.
So if a person is still wondering if a pet can really improve health and well-being, it really is a wise move to give it a shot. Think about all the animals in need of homes in shelters and rescue centers. Check out the local St. Cloud Tri-County Humane Society and see if that special critter is just waiting to come home with a new owner.