Are you a dog person or a cat person? Either way, having pets at home can prove to improve your health over time. Yes, it’s true. Nowadays, people are keeping pets as health companions to cope with medical treatments for cancer, autism, seizures, and many other dangerous illnesses. You may be surprised how your pets as health companions can play an important role in living a healthy lifestyle.
Watching your dog, cat, or even a pet goldfish can only take minutes to calm your mood and reduce stress. Your body actually goes through physical changes that make a difference in your mood. It lowers cortisol levels, a stress hormone, and increases serotonin, a well-being hormone that contributes to happiness.
To control your blood pressure, you still need to exercise and keep a check on your weight. But having pets as heath companions can help you manage your blood pressure as well. Dog owners are at lower risks of heart failures. Research suggests that petting dogs for just 15 minutes can lower high blood pressure by 10%.
People with serious cardiac rhythm abnormalities can live longer with pets. Dog owners have a better survival rate one year after having a heart attack.
Pets are known for their unconditional love and having blind faith in their human best friend. No one loves you more than your pet. This affection can help you deal with depression and in most cases improve your mental health. Giving your pet attention by taking it for regular walks, grooming it, feeding it, and playing with it can help you calm down. This gives depressed people the feeling that they are never alone.
When small children grow up with pets as health companions, they are less likely to develop allergies. The same holds true for those kids who live in the countryside with farm animals like horses, cows, etc. Having pets can boost your immune system as your body develops healthy bacteria colonies that increase the levels of immune chemicals.
A sudden drop in the blood glucose levels can be very serious for people with diabetes. Some dogs can actually alert their owners before this happens. When there is a sudden dip in the blood glucose levels, your body undergoes certain chemical changes that release a distinct scent. Dogs can detect this scent with their sensitive nose and alert their owner by barking which gives them time to take their insulin shots, tablets, or just have a snack and avoid a medical emergency. One in three dogs living with people suffering from diabetes has this ability.
Also, children suffering from Autism Sensory Disorder need sensory integration activities that help them get used to smelling, hearing, and touching different things every day. Many sensory integration activities need dogs and horses as assistance to hold the children’s attention and make the activities a calming experience for the autistic children.
Service dogs are not therapy dogs. As the name suggests, service dogs are trained to assist people with disabilities like the mobility impairments, blindness, deafness, etc. Seizure alert dogs are trained to bark and alert the parents when their child is having a seizure. They lie next to or on the person having a seizure to prevent any injuries.
Although ‘service cats’ is not a common concept, there are groups that send service cats to people who prefer cats and are suffering from mental trauma, depression, anxiety, and many emotional conflicts.
Having pets as health companions does have therapeutic benefits. But they are just one way to cope up with traumatic treatments for physical pain, emotional breakdowns, and mental conditions. With the support of your service pets and proper medications, you can treat your illnesses and live a healthy lifestyle.