5 Ways Pets Improve Our Health

Research has shown that our pets make us happy and healthy
Did you know our pets play an important role in our health and well-being? Yes it's true, not only do pets fill our hearts with happiness, but they also have a positive impact on our fitness and overall health.

Our friends at Bergan - the pet product people we all know and love - recently featured a piece entitled Four Ways Our Pets Make Us Healthier (you can read it here) which got us thinking... We did some research into what science is telling us about the connection between our pets and our health.

The results were surprising and uplifting...

1.Dog Owners Have Lower Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
Walking a dog ensures dog owners get regular exercise, and these owners have tended to have lower levels of cholesterol, lower blood pressure and suffer fewer minor health issues according to studies.
Writing in the British Journal of Health Psychology, Dr. Deborah Wells of Queen's University, Belfast, said that "...dogs can directly promote our well-being by buffering us from stress. The ownership of a dog can also lead to increases in physical activity..."[1]

Doggy doctor? Dog owners have lower blood pressure and reduced anxiety
2. Cats Reduce the Chance of Cancer
An Institute of Health Study by Tranah, Bracci and Holly shows that exposure to a cat reduces the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma - a group of blood cancers. The longer the exposure (through long-term ownership of a cat, for example) the lower the chances of developing this particular cancer.[2]

3. Pets Build Resistance to Allergies
It used to be thought that pets should be kept away from allergy sufferers, but modern research says quite the opposite. In fact pets can help build up a child's resistance to allergies.
University of Wisconsin-Madison pediatrician, James E. Gern, MD, said in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology that children in contact with "furred animals" had less risk of suffering from asthma or allergies. Gern's field studies showed that allergies in infants aged 0-12 months dropped 14% if there was a dog in the home.[3]

4. Dog & Cat Households Have Fewer Illnesses
A European study published in the American Academy of Pediatrics' Official Journal showed children in households with cats and/or dogs had 31% fewer respiratory tract infections and 44% less ear infections than children in non-pet homes.[4]

It turns out children growing up in homes with pets are more resistant to allergies
5. Dogs Make Dates
More and more people are meeting others through their canine pals. It turns out dogs are natural icebreakers when it comes to striking up a conversation with the opposite sex, and many people have bonded over a chat while walking their pooches.
Dr. Nadine Kaslow, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University, Atlanta, explained that people don't feel shy when asking strangers about their dogs. "People ask about breed, they watch the dog's tricks. Sometimes the conversation stays at the 'dog level' sometimes it becomes a real social interchange." It's been proven that a happy heart leads to a healthier body due to the reduction in stress levels, depression and feelings of isolation.

So it really is true; thanks to our pets we can lead happier, healthier lives. Don't you think we should return the favor and do all we can to ensure our pets themselves lead equally happy and healthy lives? We do, and so does Bergan who continue to develop the nutritional supplements and pet products that will help keep our pets enjoy life to the fullest.

By John Bone
[1] Source: The Independent Newspaper http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/how-a-dogs-life-can-make-you-happier-433184.html
[2] Source: The National Center for Biotechnology Information http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18768507
[3]Source: WebMD http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/features/5-ways-pets-improve-your-health
[4] Source: The Official Journal of American Academy of Pediatrics http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2012/07/03/peds.2011-2825.abstract?sid=73a8fcd1-ad41-4099-8e99-afa57ce00e1f
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