Health benefits of having a pet - part 1

Fit & Training door thijs

Living with pets is great and it's good for your health (as an animal lover, I can confirm this). I read an article that described the health benefits of living with pets and because I almost have all of the animals mentioned in the article I thought it would be nice to write about these awesome pets while comparing it to my own perspective. 

To me my pets aren’t just the fluffy and feathery companions I share the house with, they’re part of my family. I have to admit, with kids and pets; my family is pretty big! We have two dogs, five birds (three are nestlings) with two eggs, five bunnies and fish! Having this many pets is lots of work. We take care of them as a family; everybody knows his tasks.

Back to the benefits of owning pets. You’re probably curious to find out what kind pets are best for your health and which benefits they could bring you. I won’t keep you any longer, read on!

1. Dogs

So apparently "Simply petting a dog is like a spa treatment," Dr. Becker says. He follows "after just a minute or two, you have this massive release of positive neurochemicals like dopamine and serotonin." I reckon this is true, I totally feel at ease when cuddling with my dogs, it’s hard to step away from them because it’s so nice.

Studies also link dog ownership to lower cholesterol, triglyceride and blood pressure levels. As if this alone isn’t enough, there is also a reduced risk of heart disease. According to a 2011 review in the Journal of physical activity and Health, as a dog owner you’re 34 % more likely to meet your daily exercise requirements than non-dog owners. I’ve had dogs all my life so I can’t compare but when I take my dog with me on walks or runs I tend to go further and stay away longer. I think because it’s way more fun then going by myself.

On page two you can continue to read about awesome pets for your health.

2. Cats

Cats get a second place because there are fewer studies that prove the health benefits of owning a cat. That said, we all know that cats are just as awesome as dogs just in a totally different way. In one study they gave people with high blood pressure the option to adopt a dog or cat, both animals lowered the stress responses of the owners. Owning a cat can also be good for your heart, researchers at the University of Minnesota found that people who never owned a cat had a 40% higher risk of death from a heart attack than cat owners.

Sadly my cat Mase (photo above) passed away last year but he lived with us for 17 years. Whenever I was emotionally unstable (sad or stressed for example) he always sat with me and it really calmed me down. I would love to own another cat but my youngest dog isn’t too fond of them. For now I’ll have to cuddle with my neighbourhood cats. There is a cat with one eye, which I named pirate kitty (photo below). Whenever I step out of my front door, he’s there to greet me and he’s always in for a cuddle.

Next week I’ll discuss the last three more pets! With the most obvious ones mentioned already, could you guess which pets are also awesome for your health?! Are there any Fit Girls who have either a cat , dog or maybe both? If so do you notice any health benefits? Well, let me know! As always I’m curious to find out.