Most pet owners will attest that animals can provide a calming and healing force in your life, but more and more studies are providing evidence to back up that truth. Some of the ways animals can benefit their people are obvious, like becoming an exercise partner who improves their owner’s physical health. Service animals are invaluable to the people they assist, and therapies involving cats and dogs are rising in popularity. On the flip side, humans can provide healing to their pets, particularly rescue animals with an experience of abuse.
How You and Your Pet Can Heal Each Other
Pets Reduce Stress
Psychology professor Allen McDonnell, PhD, says that the sense of purpose and acceptance a pet brings is beneficial to the owner and reduces stress. In fact, the more you develop a bond with your pet the more physical and social benefit you both share. The simple act of petting a dog, or cat or even a snake lowers stress and blood pressure which is proven therapy for those suffering from heart disease.
Pets Have a Healing Influence
Studies on animal therapy show that interacting with pets increases oxytocin levels which improves the body’s ability to heal. Counseling patients find it easier to emotionally open up with pets around to relax them.
Some shelters have set up programs for returning war veterans to train shelter dogs, which is mutually beneficial for the dog and participants. Other shelters set up programs where people can take shelter dogs for walks. These programs are mutually beneficial since the animals get attention and exercise, and are more likely to be adopted.
Pets Are a Social Help
Another unexpected way that service pets can benefit their owners is by improving their social lives. One study found that blind or wheelchair bound children with service pets were 10x more likely to be approached by other people than those without pets. That research is an addition to the social bond and sense of acceptance owners share with their pets.
It’s important while remembering the numerous ways our pets help us to be sure to help them in return. Regularly take your pet to a veterinary clinic like Evergreen Veterinary Clinic in order to keep up with their preventative care, gifting them with a healthy and full life. A healthy pet is a happy one, and investing in their health is a good way to keep them in your life for a long time.