What’s a home without people? The joy and happiness experienced while returning back to your place with a feeling that someone’s waiting for you is unmatchable. This ‘someone’ needn’t be your mom, dad, spouse, sibling or friend but can be a pet too. Yes guys! Pets have the power to do more than keep you company. They can improve physical health, mental well-being and also help children develop social and emotional skills. While it might be old news to dog walkers it surely does surprise the rest.
Healthy Bets on Pets
Being with animals, playing with them and interacting might help to decrease cortisol (stress hormones) levels and lower blood pressure. Studies show that animals have the power to decrease loneliness and improve mood. Dog owners are sure to second the fact that their pets help them stay physically and mentally fit. You are sure to take your dog for a walk a couple of times daily and this helps you stay fit and even lose weight. A study shows that looking at your dog directly into the eyes helps in the secretion of the love hormone, oxytocin, in both the owner and the pet which helps them bond over even stronger than before.
Another solid advantage is that pets are likelier to help individuals establish social connections with people in their neighborhood. Studies show that owning a pet is a great opportunity to start a conversation and those with a solid social network are 50% likelier to live longer than people who don’t have one. Many dog owners have reported becoming acquainted with someone whom they met through their pet.
Animals Do Cure
While many know that animals as pets can make us happier many studies have proved that they can also make us healthier. Pets don’t include only dogs and cats but other adorable creatures such as fish, rabbits, birds and horses too. Hospitals, jails, schools, nursing homes and mental institutions too use these pets for treating patients. This isn’t something new and pets have been used in hospital and other settings too for more than a couple of centuries. There have been several studies linking pets with improved health. Studies have shown that heart attack patients who owned pets lived longer than others and also BP patients found solace in their pets which helped reduce their blood pressure. For more information on the logic behind decreased cardiac risk of dog lovers please visit the website www.firsteatright.com. Even horses have been found to be beneficial in people with disabilities. Studies have found it to help people with autism adhere to instructions and commands better, follow verbal cues and complete the activity in a better way. Dogs too help children with ADHD and this has been proved with the help of a study. Researchers enrolled two groups of students affected by ADHD for a 12-week therapy. The first group read to a group of therapy dogs while the second group read to a group of puppets that resembled dogs. The first group that read to real animals expressed better social skills, abilities to share more, volunteer and cooperate while suffering from fewer behavioral problems. Another study showed that kids with autism spectrum disorder were calmer while playing with guinea pigs in the classroom setting and their anxiety levels too dipped. Even feeding and changing water for your fish can keep juvenile diabetes under control.
Dogs are very attentive and have the ability to judge any disturbance to your mood, mind or attitude instantly. Researchers believe that mindfulness is all about attention, intention, compassion and awareness-things that individuals have to work, upon but these come to animals naturally. While all this sound encouraging and interesting researchers are worried whether bringing pets into hospital or school settings might increase individuals’ exposure to germs greatly. While there are studies showing that introducing pets to our little ones helps them stay away from asthma and allergies in the case of some people who are allergic to animals it might give them a lot more trouble than pleasure.
Above all this, one must know how to handle these adorable creatures as mishandling them or disturbing them when they are fatigued and stressed (yes, pets too face these issues) can result in animal bites that are harmful.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.