Personal Interest – 5 Benefits of Owning a Pet

1. Allergy Fighters
It was always thought that having pets around babies heightens for a higher chance of allergies and asthma. However, recent studies have shown that kids growing up in a home with “furred animals”, whether it’s a cat, dog or other furry pets, will have less risk of allergies and asthma.

In a recent study by James E. Gern, MD, a pediatrician at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, “if a dog lived in the home, infants were less likely to show evidence of pet allergies — 19% vs. 33%. They also were less likely to have eczema, a common allergy skin condition that causes red patches and itching. In addition, they had higher levels of some immune system chemicals — a sign of stronger immune system activation.”

2. Social Connector
Dogs are great for making connections. Have you ever noticed the person at the coffee shop with their dog? They, as in the dog, are always striking up conversations with everyone around them. This in turns helps get people out of social isolation and allows them to connect with people they normally would not talk to. More often than not, the dog owner will not have to start a conversation because people will ask them all of the questions and request to pet their dog.

3. Dogs for the Elderly
It is well known that dogs are able to sense the needs of others. With this known fact studies have shown that dogs are a great companion to those with Alzheimer’s.

“Studies have shown that Alzheimer’s patients have fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home,” says Lynette Hart, PhD, associate professor at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

For anyone, young and old, walking a dog or just caring for a pet can provide exercise and companionship.

4. For Mind and Soul
In one study, stockbrokers with high blood pressure who adopted a cat or dog had lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations than did people without pets. People in stress mode enter into a “state of dis-ease,” in which harmful chemicals like cortisol and norepinephrine can negatively affect the immune system, says Blair Justice, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Texas School of Public Health and author of Who Gets Sick: How Beliefs, Moods, and Thoughts Affect Your Health. Studies show a link between these chemicals and plaque buildup in arteries, the red flag for heart disease, says Justice. Like any enjoyable activity, playing with a dog can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine — nerve transmitters that are known to have pleasurable and calming properties.

5.Your heart will thank you
You don’t need to be the survivor of a heart attack to take advantage of this but heart attack patients who have pets survive longer than those without, according to several studies. Male pet owners have less sign of heart disease — lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels — than non-owners.