One of the few positives to come from the pandemic has been the explosion in pet ownership. According to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, in 2020 pet ownership climbed to an astounding 85 million homes, or roughly 67% of all US households. And who could blame us? Who doesn’t like the lowered stress, improved heart health and emotional support that pets often offer?
We’ve long known that regular interaction with animals can lower blood pressure and reduce the prevalence of stress hormones. Now it’s starting to be better understood how owning a pet can also offer owners other benefits like improving feelings of social support, reducing anxiety, and improving mood.
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One of the remarkable things about pets is how uniquely different their benefits to their owners can be. Some people like the quiet comfort many cats offer, while others enjoy the naturally active lifestyle that accompanies dog ownership. Still others find calm in the care of fish or joy in the care of birds. What’s incredible is that there is no single, universal benefit from pet ownership; each relationship is unique.
We use dogs, for example, in a myriad of ways that enrich our lives. Today, it is not uncommon to find dogs in our schools, churches, airports and even restaurants servicing a wide variety of needs. While dogs get a lot of the praise, these types of benefits can be found with other types of animals as well. Fish, for example, have been shown to help teens better manage diabetes1 while cats with strong bonds to their owners can sometimes provide support similar to that found elsewhere in a person’s support system2. Pets also have many benefits inside the body, as well.
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It’s no secret that as we age, our hormones go through several dramatic phases. From puberty to menopause and andropause, it can often seem like our hormones are always in a state of change. What is common throughout these periods and for some, throughout life is a high level of the stress hormone cortisol in the system.
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Research has shown that simply petting a dog can reduce a person’s cortisol levels, with social interaction and play can boost serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin (the same hormone that bonds mothers to babies)3. Unfortunately, some hormonal problems transcend even the cutest cuddles.
For many adults, aging isn’t what actually worries them about growing older. It’s the loss of mobility, the lack of energy and focus, the inability to perform like they used to. Fortunately, improvements in regenerative therapies have been able to offer people a way to vastly improve and maintain a higher quality of life as they age.
Trust us, we believe that dogs improve nearly every situation, but should really be thought of as an upgrade to an already healthy life. Call us today for a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable wellness advisors who can help answer any lingering questions you may have. 866-806-1869