How Pets Can Help You Live Longer
I’ve loved animals all of my life. I grew up with cats, rabbits and horses and even had a ball python in college! I rescued my first dog in my early 30s. I can’t imagine not having a pet.
Pets are great company and love unconditionally. No matter what, they’re always excited to see you. They give us something to focus on, which helps with concentration, which in turn can help to fight depression. And they’re motivating – a dog isn’t going to walk itself and a cat will be relentless until you feed it!
One study showed that people who owned cats were 30% less likely to suffer a heart attack. It’s also been found that owning a dog helps lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. Other research shows that by petting an animal it helps you to de-stress. After spending just a few minutes with a dog or cat, you feel less anxious. Your body actually goes through physical changes that alter your mood. The level of cortisol, the “stress” hormone, is lowered and the production of serotonin, the “happy” hormone, is increased. Reducing stress prevents wear and tear, both physically and mentally.
If you don’t have a pet, I strongly encourage you to adopt or rescue one. If you can’t have an animal, volunteer at your local humane society or get involved with a rescue organization. I walked shelter dogs before I could have my own. And yes, I wanted to take every singly one home although I couldn’t. Don’t let that “guilty” feeling stop you – instead, know that the few minutes you spent with that animal made its entire day.
Walk a dog, pet a cat, bond with a bunny, ride a horse – spend time with animals and live a longer life!