Today is Love Your Pet Day. What an awesome holiday!
Over the years, our pets have included a golden retriever/chow mix, two long-haired dachshund sisters, an iguana and numerous cats. All of our pets have been rescues (except the iguana). Right now we have two black cats who are regularly part of my social media posts and who even take over my blog once a week.
I don’t think there has ever been a time in my life when I’ve been without at least one cat or dog. Granted, they can be a lot of work, but when they look at you with love in their eyes, it makes it all worthwhile.
Besides all the love and joy pets bring into our lives, there are also health benefits:
Especially if the pet is a dog. Walking, running, playing frisbee or fetch keep both you and your pet in shape. We never could get our long-haired dachshunds to play fetch, but our Siamese cat Suki had a little rubber mouse she would bring to us to throw. She’d tear off after it then bring it back and drop it at our feet. This would keep up until we finally wore her out. Or maybe she wore us out.
Stress relief and help with depression
What is more soothing than listening to a cat purr or having a dog lying next to you with its head in your lap? Studies have found that being around pets actually reduces cortisol levels (the stress hormone). Pets can make us smile when we’re feeling down, too. The National Institute of Mental Health recognizes animal-assisted therapy as a treatment for depression and other mood disorders.
Lower blood pressure, less risk of stroke and lower risk of heart attacks
A study of hospitalized heart patients found that dogs decreased their blood pressure by about 10%. Other researchers suggest owning a cat cuts a person’s risk of having a stroke by one-third. And yet another study found that people with cats were 40% less likely to have a fatal heart attack. Scientists aren’t sure whether it’s the pets’ calming effects that make the difference or whether people who choose pets are at less risk of heart attack and more stress-free naturally. Either way, it sounds like a really good excuse to adopt a dog or cat!
Worried about allergies? Having pets in your home when your children are young can decrease their risk of developing allergies later. A seven-year study of almost 500 children found that those who were exposed to pets as babies, were half as likely to develop allergies and asthma.
For 13 of the most heartwarming pet stories of the past decade, check out this post. Warning: It’ll make you cry!
In honor of this great holiday, how about giving Fido or Fluffy an extra treat? They deserve it.