Owning a Pet and the Surprising Health Benefits

*By: Christi Shingara*

Photo: Alexis Chloe

Due to the pandemic a number of people decided to make their home life more interesting by adding a new member to the family. No, not of the human kind, but a furry friend! According to the Washington Post, dog adoptions have soared to an all-time high within the past year. Aside from having a loyal companion, there are some great health benefits to owning a pet.

Increased exercise – Depending on what kind of pet you have, they can help increase your exercise. Taking your dog or cat (yes, they do go for walks) for a few walks a day allows you to get outside and take in some vitamin D and breathe fresh air. My dog, Bella makes me get out there even on those cold, winter days when I would rather be confined to the warm, cozy house. Besides a dog or cat, another great pet to have that encourages exercise is a horse, but that may not be realistic for some people and will definitely break the bank a little!

Lower blood pressure – According to an article on Web MD, in one study stockbrokers with high blood pressure adopted a pet and after doing so their blood pressure reading decreased significantly. When I come home from work after a long, stressful day to see an excited Shih Tzu greeting me at the door, it really does make me feel more calm and happy.

Decrease loneliness – Having a pet, especially when living alone or if your partner works different hours than you, does help with any lonely feelings you may have. During the pandemic, feeling isolated has become a big problem with mental health. Having a furry companion by your side can make all the difference!

Help to boost immunity A study posted on PubMed.gov found that petting a dog raised immunoglobulin A levels in people’s saliva, a sign of robust immune function.

Below are some photos of my sweet dog Bella and my sister, Megan with her dog, Rosie Pearl. We are definitely happier with them than without them!

Have a pet that enhances your life? Let me know in the comments below!

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