Today, April 11th, is national pet day!
Whether you’re a dog person, a cat person, or someone who enjoys the companionship of something more unique like snakes or birds, your pet probably means the world to you. The pets in the photo above are the pets of Wieber Physical Therapy 🙂
But did you know owning a pet can be beneficial to your health?
The presence of a pet in a household can help release stress. Dogs specifically are often used to help individuals manage stress. Therapy dogs are used in a variety of high-stress environments, including airports (yes, even at Minneapolis-St. Paul International) to help nervous passengers, Colleges to help stressed-out students, and even some VA hospitals to help veterans suffering from PTSD.
More physical activity and time spent outdoors
Many pets require physical activity to stay healthy. When you take your dog on a walk or run, you’re not only making sure they stay healthy, you are also getting some exercise you may not have gotten otherwise. A 2013 statement from the American Heart Association says that dog owners are 54% more likely to get the recommended amount of exercise.
Being around pets can help fight allergies
A 2011 study claims that children who grew up with a dog or a cat present in the household were less likely to be allergic to them later in life. The study claims that infants (age 0 – 1) specifically are affected. Children who were exposed to pets after their first year of life did not show any effect.
Improved emotional health
Another study in 2011 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found pet owners to have higher self-esteem, be more extroverted and less lonely, be less preoccupied, and be less fearful of life challenges. Pets also seem to help owners feel better after an event where they reported feeling rejected.