Paw-sitively fur-bulous ways pets can support our health

It’s National Dog Day* and we’re celebrating our furry friends, their companionship and the health benefits they bring to our lives.

Did you know that according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, owning a pet is linked to a decrease in blood pressure, total cholesterol and triglycerides? Great, so all we need to do is adopt a pet to be healthy? While we do want to encourage everyone to consider helping our local Pima Animal Care Center by adopting or fostering one of the thousands of animals taken in each year, there is more to the connection between pets and improved health.

Important aspects of being healthy include staying active, managing stress, having a strong sense of purpose and having a good social support network. Owning, fostering or even volunteering to work with animals can help us more easily achieve these healthy behaviors.

1. Purpose and connection

Having a pet or participating in a program that cares for animals gives us purpose and helps connect us with others who have similar values and passions. Pets can serve as a social icebreaker for people who tend to be shy and more introverted, easing the creation of social bonds. Through these connections, we can develop a support network that goes beyond the commonality of pet ownership. 2. Improve mood and decrease tension or stress

2. Improve mood and decrease tension or stress

Hopefully, everyone has had the opportunity to experience the unconditional love that a pet greets you with when you return home or go to visit them. This greeting alone can improve mood and decrease tension or stress. Animals can keep us in the present moment, which helps to distract us from our worries and problems that we might tend to ruminate about.

3. Reduce heart rate and blood pressure

Many studies have demonstrated that petting an animal can reduce heart rate, blood pressure and perceived level of stress. Plus, how can you not feel joyful when animals look at you with such adoration as you pet them?

4. Maintain a routine and stay active

Pets, and dogs most specifically, help us to maintain a routine and stay active. While we may be willing to skip our own exercise, we are not likely to say no to our loving pets! Even if it is just a quick walk around the neighborhood, remember, any activity is better than nothing. If you are interested in a more rigorous workout, please take a look at our post on running with our four-legged friends.

Regardless of what type of activity you choose to do with your pet, getting into a routine can also have an impact on the other health choices we make throughout our day. Once you are consistently doing one thing to benefit your health, you are more likely to follow up with others, such as making healthy food choices or getting better quality sleep.

National Dog Day

*August 26th is National Dog Day, initiated to help galvanize the public to recognize the number of dogs that need to be rescued each year and to acknowledge family dogs and dogs that work each day to save lives, keep us safe and bring comfort. Our friends at Pima Animal Care Center organize events throughout the month to help people who would like to adopt or foster dogs and cats. Check out PACC’s foster event schedule.

 

Pup at PACC waiting for new home

 

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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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