5 Ways Pets Benefit Your Health

Shel­ters are close to emp­ty for the first time in years, a result of peo­ple want­i­ng com­pan­ion­ship dur­ing the pan­dem­ic; more peo­ple than ever are expe­ri­enc­ing the ben­e­fits of own­ing a pet. Aside from being a loy­al com­pan­ion, own­ing a pet can lead to numer­ous phys­i­cal, men­tal and social health benefits. 

1. Increased phys­i­cal activity

Dai­ly walks and play­ing with your dog are a great way to sneak in extra phys­i­cal activ­i­ty espe­cial­ly when you have been seden­tary. Stud­ies have found that own­ing a dog increas­es a person’s phys­i­cal activ­i­ty by four times, com­pared to those who do not own a dog1.

2. Com­pan­ion­ship

Whether you live alone or miss your loved ones, pets are known to decrease feel­ings of lone­li­ness and reduce symp­toms of depres­sion. They can also help pro­vide rou­tine and struc­ture to your day with their required walks, feed­ings and exer­cise. Every­day care­tak­ing of a pet can teach kids respon­si­bil­i­ty and time man­age­ment skills as well.

3. Social­iza­tion

While tak­ing your dog on social­ly-dis­tant walks, you may run into oth­er peo­ple with the same idea. Researchers have found that dog own­ers are more like­ly to con­nect with peo­ple who live near­by because of their dog2. Pets also help own­ers learn to be more sen­si­tive and car­ing towards their human rela­tion­ships too. Have a pet that doesn’t require walks? Online tools like social media and web­site blogs offer plen­ty of oppor­tu­ni­ties for pet own­ers to con­nect based upon their shared interests.

4. Stress relief

Pet­ting, cud­dling and even star­ing at your pet releas­es hor­mones that can decrease stress and anx­i­ety. With more peo­ple work­ing from home dur­ing the pan­dem­ic, pets can help ease work or school-relat­ed stress. Even peo­ple who don’t own a pet can expe­ri­ence stress relief by watch­ing dogs and cats on video and social media platforms.

5. Improved heart health

Some pet own­ers have found that their blood pres­sure and cho­les­terol lev­els improved once they had a pet. Low­er blood pres­sure and cho­les­terol lev­els can improve over­all car­diac func­tion and can lead to less heart attacks among pet owners. 

    Own­ing a pet can be a won­der­ful expe­ri­ence and does bring joy to any home. Please only add a pet to your fam­i­ly if you have the capa­bil­i­ties of car­ing for it ful­ly. Remem­ber to also care for your­self ful­ly and sched­ule your well­ness exam with your pri­ma­ry care provider in 2021. Sched­ule online at duly​healthand​care​.com/​s​c​h​edule or by call­ing the loca­tion of your choice. 

    Our providers love their pets! 

    Nass­er Boshra, MD, Inter­nal Medicine

    Stacey Car­pen­ter, DO, Fam­i­ly Medicine

    M.K. Sheikha, MD, FACP, Inter­nal Medicine

    Michael Con­ti Mica, MD, Spine Surgery

    Ash­ley Fen­er­an, DO, Dermatology

    Julio Gon­za­lez, MD, Orthopaedics

    Jean Houli­han, MD, Inter­nal Medicine

    Ted Shieh, MD, FACEP, Imme­di­ate Care Centers

    Kevin Regan, MD, Inter­nal Medicine

    Steven Math­er, MD, Spine Surgery

    Poo­ja Dave Patel, FNP-BC, Dermatology

    Yeka­te­ri­na (Kate) Poly­atskaya, MD, Plas­tic Surgery

    1Reynolds, G. (2019, May 29). Dog Own­ers Get More Exer­cise. In The New York Times. Retrieved from https://​www​.nytimes​.com/​2​0​1​9​/​0​5​/​2​9​/​w​e​l​l​/​m​o​v​e​/​d​o​g​-​o​w​n​e​r​s​-​g​e​t​-​m​o​r​e​-​e​x​e​r​c​i​s​e​.html

    2Wood, L., Mar­tin, K., Chris­t­ian, H., Nathan, A., Lau­rit­sen, C., Houghton, S., … McCune, S. (2015, April 29). The Pet Fac­tor — Com­pan­ion Ani­mals as a Con­duit for Get­ting to Know Peo­ple, Friend­ship For­ma­tion and Social Sup­port. In PLOS ONE. Retrieved from https://​jour​nals​.plos​.org/​p​l​o​s​o​n​e​/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​?​i​d​=​1​0​.​1​3​7​1​/​j​o​u​r​n​a​l​.​p​o​n​e​.​0​1​22085

    3Hes­sel­mar, B., Hicke-Roberts, A., Lun­dell, A., Adler­berth, I., Rudin, A., Saal­man, R., … Wold, A. E. (2018, Decem­ber 19). Pet-keep­ing in ear­ly life reduces the risk of aller­gy in a dose-depen­dent fash­ion. In PLOS ONE. Retrieved from https://​jour​nals​.plos​.org/plos…

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