Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pets Can Lengthen Your Life

Some people are animal lovers (you can generally tell which ones by how many photos on their free internet dating profiles feature their dogs!). Others are not. And if you take those two groups and put them in a room together, the pet owner group is bound to be the longer-lived group. Why? Because having animals around provides a number of invisible benefits that lead to longer, healthier, happier lives. In fact, a study done recently in Japan found that people who owned pets visited the doctor 30% less than people without pets. Studies done all over the world have shown that pet owners have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and a reduced risk of heart disease. But how does simply having an animal around improve our overall health? Lowering stress levels. Many doctors attribute the health benefits of pet ownership to reduced stress levels. According to a study done in Minnesota, just having a cat in your home can reduce your chances of experiencing a stroke by almost 50%, and of suffering a fatal heart attack by 40%. How? Partly by lowering your blood pressure. Having a pet present reduces blood pressure spikes due to stress or tension, which in turn increases your chances of surviving a life-threatening illness. In short, having an animal around makes people happier, and happy people tend to be healthier. Keeping you active. Having a pet --especially a dog-- really encourages you to stay active, which of course makes you healthier. Most dog owners get out of the house more, take walks, and play with their pets on a daily basis. This leads to lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and a reduced risk of heart disease. Hey, we all know that being active is a recipe for living longer; now you know that having a pet can help you do it. Psychological comfort. From schizophrenia to depression, having pets around is one of the best things a person can do for their mental health. Spending time with pets has proven to reduce the occurrence of psychotic episodes and to reduce stress in general. Having a pet also works from an early age to prevent psychological and emotional problems. Research has show that children who own pets tend to have higher self esteem and better emotional functionality than children without pets. Animals have also shown to be incredibly therapeutic to children with disabilities or behavioral disorders like autism. Allergy prevention. Now, if you're an adult suffering from pet allergies, this may sound like a bit of a stretch. But it's not. At least, not if you're under a certain age. Studies have show that children who were born into a home with a cat or a dog have lower occurrences of allergies and allergy-caused problems such as asthma. They're also far less likely to be allergic to animals later on in life. Predicting Problems. One of the most amazing things pets can do for their humans is predict and help prevent health threats. Dogs especially can predict when their person is about to experience some type of debilitating episode. Dogs have been trained to warn their owners and take them somewhere safe when they're about to have a seizure, or when a diabetic is close to a hypoglycemic episode, or even when a mentally ill person is on the edge of an episode. Studies are even being done into some dogs' ability to detect cancer in humans. Some dogs have been show to detect early skin cancers by smelling the skin, or breast and lung cancers by simply smelling the patient's breath. You ever hear that an apple a day keeps the doctor away? Maybe they should change that to an hour with your dog. Apples are great, after all, but can you train one to fetch your slippers? Probably not.


  1. Thanks for visiting my blog yesterday. I look forward to getting to know you better (and I can totally relate to the fear that nobody reads your blog, but you do and I do and that makes two!). I love your recipes...we're going to try the steak fingers tonight. I'll let you know how it goes! Blessings for a wonderful day! ~Sara

  2. Hey there Sara!

    I am so happy to have you here! I love your blog and will visit everyday.
    I hope you enjoy the steak fingers...we always do. :)