7 Ways a Furry Friend Can Make You Healthier

Want to be healthy? Easy…Get a pet!  

Today is National Love Your Pet Day! I hope you celebrated and treated your pet to something special, I know my dog is pretty spoiled herself. Since my dog does so much for me, whether she realizes it or not, I feel like she should get whatever her little heart desires.

I am personally a huge dog person! I grew up with dogs; we never had less than two dogs at a time. I took for granted everything that they did for me when I was growing up and when I went to college I really felt like something was missing. I would get depressed very easily, felt lonely even when my roommates were around and I developed anxiety issues.

I went through a whole process telling my parents I was going to get a dog while I was in college and they kept telling me no. Well, like college kids do, I went against what they said and I got myself a dog from a shelter. This little girl caught my eye, she was all-alone in here cage, super calm and sad looking. So I swooped her up while I could.


 It turns out getting a dog of my own was the best choice I made in college. My mood improved, I had a real living responsibility, and no matter how I was feeling I had to get out of bed and go outside with her. I found that I was happier and even when I was sad she would cheer me up. Since dogs can sense how you are feeling and react accordingly Taz has helped me through a countless amount of panic attacks. It is amazing to me that she knows when to be calm and just lay by me, when to give me kisses or when to try to play. She is one smart animal!


So is it true that dogs, or pets in general can make you healthier? I think so! Here’s how (According to US News and World Report): 

1: Combating Depression: Pets can help you beat depression by giving you “something to live for” giving you value and combating part of depression.


2. Heart Health: According to the American Heart Association, having a pet can reduce your risk of heart disease, lower your blood pressure and pulse and sometimes even lower your cholesterol.

3. Exercise: Having a pet, especially a dog, forces you to be more active and exercise more often, which lowers risk for many diseases and keeps weight under control.


4. Stress Levels: Pets are a good source of unconditional love and help their owners to relax. Who doesn’t love coming home to snuggle their pet after a long day at work?


5. Allergies: Exposing children to animals reduces their likelihood of having pet allergies as they get older.


6. Socialization: People with pets tend to get out and socialize more with other people with pets, leading to more positive human interaction and more happiness.


7. A longer life: The combine health benefits of having a pet can not only help you to live a longer life but also improve quality of life.


A few more I personally find to be true:


8. Entertainment: I can’ count the amount of times that my dog has done something crazy or silly and just kept me entertained by being her crazy self!


9. Life Savers: How many times have we seen on the news that a dog somehow saved its owner? Owner has a heart attack and the dog runs for help. Someone breaks in and the dog fights off the attacker. How is on fire and the dog goes back and drags a kid out. I am hoping if I am ever in one of these types of situations that Taz comes to my rescue.


10. Cleaning: Every time I drop food on the floor I don’t have to worry about cleaning it up, I know Taz will get it for me and I don’t get frustrated about having to clean it up.  Okay…I took it a little far but you get the point!


My advice? Get a pet and reap the health benefits. Pick the right pet for you, it could be a dog, cat, bunny, rat, snake… anything. Psychological well-being is just as important as physical well being. I am no doctor but I highly suggest if you have suffered from any type of physiological health issues such as depression or anxiety that you look deeper into the benefits of pet ownership and how it could possibly improve your life as well!


Aja James