Who Rescued Who? How Our Pets Heal Us

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We all feel wonderful about the better lives we give to our pets we rescue from shelters, the streets, abusive owners, substandard conditions or those left homeless after their person dies. And we should!

But we should also remember how our animals rescue us physically as well as emotionally, relieving physical and emotional pain and improving chronic health conditions which could otherwise take our lives prematurely.

These health benefits are pretty widely known; the CDC, for one example, has a web page dedicated to pet ownership, including the ways having a pet can make you healthier. Here they are, with some of the research behind them:

  • Decreased blood pressure — petting a dog has been found to lower blood pressure, heart rate & other factors related to stress.(study 1)
  • Decreased triglyceride & cholesterol levels — dog ownership is associated with lower plasma levels of the harmful fats known as triglycerides, as well as lower cholesterol, cortisol levels and blood pressure. (studies 2&3)
  • Decreased feelings of loneliness — A majority of pet owners find their pet to be a considerable source of support during their isolation. (study 4)
  • Increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities — people who own a dog were much more likely to report walking for recreation and spent more time walking than non-owners. (study 5)
  • Increased opportunities for socialization — pet owners have been found to be significantly more likely to know other people in their neighborhood. (study 6)

Links to Studies: