Three Ways Pet Ownership is Powerful
Pets of all kinds can bring so much happiness to a persons life. When I walk in the door my pets have no idea if I had a horrible day or a great day. I am greeted with unlimited love by my dogs wagging tail, grabbing a toy to play fetch and/or that little snuggle next to my leg.
Living with pets can lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, stress and depression and improve a persons overall health. Pets play a key role in aiding overall emotional and physical health. WebMd notes “Playing with a dog can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine ― nerve transmitters that are known to have pleasurable and calming properties.”
Lowering blood pressure
Watching pets can be comic relief. That comic relief does tie in with the old adage “laughter is the best medicine”. So, how does laughing tie in with blood pressure? It is connected to something called arterial compliance. Arterial compliance is affected in a positive way after a person laughs. Arterial compliance is the amount of blood that moves through arteries at a given time. Laughing improves blood flow which can deflect high blood pressure. Now, when your big Boxer puppy overwhelms you with kisses on the face and you laugh- it’s a good thing! There are other ways that pets lower blood pressure that don’t include you laughing from your pup lathering you with kisses. Studies indicate that merely watching fish lowers blood pressure and muscle tension in people about to undergo oral surgery. Next time your in a hospital or doctors office take a look around, I am sure you will see a tank or two full fish. Those tanks are there for more than mere decoration.
Reducing stress, anxiety and depression
Having a pet promotes a person to feel less depressed. They make you feel less lonely. The presence of a pet in a home can be powerful. Feeling like your not alone is beneficial and powerful. Pets give a person something to do. They provide a distraction from reality. If your a person that suffers from being in chronic pain a pet can take you away from concentrating on the pain even if it is for a few minutes a day. Pets are great for depression and anxiety by altering a persons behavior. The part of the brain called the hypothalamus is effected. The hypothalamus is the part of brain that controls emotions. Pets reduce the stress-related activity in the hypothalamus. Pets calm us. Many pets like dogs love to cuddle. They love to lay on our laps (including the 120 pound Great Pyrenees that thinks he is a tiny Toy Chihuahua). The close contact from our pets can soothe our emotions. Pets can be just as beneficial as human friends. Pets are always available to “lend their ear” to you, providing a sound outlet if you feel like need to express your feelings (added bonus – your always the talker!).
Overall health is improved in many ways by being a pet owner.
- Heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those that do not own pets.
- Pet owners over age 65 make 30 percent less visits to their doctors than those that do not have pets.
- Research at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine concluded that Alzheimer’s patients suffer less stress and have fewer anxious outbursts if there is a pet in the home.
- Staying socially connected. Pet owners especially those of dogs are more likely to be more socially connected in the community if you have a dog that requires outside exercise or bathroom breaks. Being out in the community allows a person to meet new people and start conversations.
Loving Hearts Home Care would like to see all elders have pets to enrich their lives. However, options are available if you aren’t able to own a pet. Short time periods with pets can be beneficial. Volunteering at a animal shelter or at a pet store are a couple of options. If cost holds you back from pet ownership and you are a elderly person there are some financial resources that are available.
- Pets for the Elderly– a non profit agency that pays a portion of an adoption fee when a senior person adopts a companion pet
- Seniors for Pets– this agency will provides funds for basic medical care for needy seniors pets
- Purina Pets for 55+– Animal Humane Society is in partnership with Purina to find cats age 4 years and older to be placed free with people 55 years of age and older
psychcentral.com, helpguide.org, WebMd