There’s no doubt that animals change our lives, but recent studies have found that our pets can have a significant impact on our physical and mental health. Certainly, our pets mean as much to us as any loved one. A look at the health benefits of pet companionship, as well as looking at how our presence affects their well being, takes us one step closer to understanding the relationship between animals and mankind.
Going along with this, the AVMA also recommends ensuring that your pet’s vaccinations are kept up to date and that he or she stays free of parasites. When we think about vaccines, the primary thing that pops into our minds is rabies, but there’s so much more to cause concern. Diseases such as distemper, parvo, pan leukopenia are equally threatening to your pet’s health, so it’s important to keep those shots up to date. Additionally, the threat from parasites can seem like an unmanageable problem, but your vet can help. Fleas, ticks, and heartworms are all examples of parasites that can literally eat your pet alive if gone unchecked – so investing in quality flea treatment such as Bravecto or Nexgard is an absolute must. They can be equally menacing to people.
How Pets Give Us Longer and Healthier Lives
Pet researcher and professor of psychology at Miami University Allen R. McConnell says the quality of our relationship with our pets is as important as the mere fact of owning an animal. While it’s impossible to define the quality of any relationship, McConnell says what matters is that you feel close to your pet in your own way. One of the benefits of this kind of bind is maintaining better heart health. Dog owners in particular are less likely to develop heart disease, because they get more exercise than those who do not own pets. Going for frequent walks helps to keep blood pressure low.
Additionally, those who have survived a heart attack or experience heart arrhythmia live longer lives when they own a pet.
Even from an emotional standpoint, pets can impact our lives and make us happier. No one can deny that petting a dog or cat does make us happier, but the benefits go deeper than that. As a person pets an animal, the brain releases special relaxation hormones that ease tension and relieve stress.
Even infants are getting in on the game. Some studies have shown that babies who are raised in a household with pets are less likely to develop asthma and allergies, as well as being less susceptible to colds and ear infections. It’s recommended that the baby is exposed to the pet early, within six months of the child’s birth to be effective.
But Do We Affect Pets in the Same Way?
You may go to the gym or have a physically demanding job, but, in most cases, dogs rely on their owners for their pet care needs. They also depend on their owners to provide a “pack friendly” environment conducive to their nature. The phenomenon of separation anxiety in dogs is in part due to owners depriving them of their social instincts by leaving them alone too long or not properly adjusting their pets to time spent alone.
While there’s little research to show that our pets are affected as indirectly as they affect us, there’s still no doubt that that the bond between pet and human is mutually beneficial. For instance, those previously mentioned heart healthy walks help keep your dog’s blood pressure low and his own heart healthy. When we step back and consider the fact humans and dogs share 84% of the same DNA, these similarities become no-brainers.
The American Veterinary Medical Association reports that maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important things we can do for our animals. Together with ensuring our cats and dogs are fed a nutritious diet, that means making sure the animal gets enough physical activity. This is especially true for dogs, who rely on people for their walks or for trips to the dog park. Cats often find their own means of activity, particularly in cases where the feline spends more time outdoors.
Additionally, it’s important to make sure your pet sees a veterinarian at least once every year. An exam can ensure the pet is healthy and can uncover medical problems before they become a serious threat.
Going along with this, the AVMA also recommends ensuring that your pet’s vaccinations are kept up to date and that he or she stays free of parasites. When we think about vaccines, the primary thing that pops into our minds is rabies, but there’s so much more to cause concern. Diseases such as distemper, parvo, pan leukopenia are equally threatening to your pet’s health, so it’s important to keep those shots up to date. Additionally,the threat from parasites can seem like an unmanageable problem, but your vet can help. Fleas, ticks, and heartworms are all examples of parasites that can literally eat your pet alive if gone unchecked. They can be equally menacing to people.
Together, people and their pets depend on one another for more than just joy and contentment. Our dogs and cats rely on us for their nutrition and physical fitness and, in return, they bestow their love and affection on us. That healthy living bond creates happier and healthier people as well, proving that our pets really are meaningful members of our families.