Our pets have an incredible impact on our lives. They are our loyal companions and provide many benefits to our overall health. Over the past few years, there have been numerous studies showing that the simple action of petting a furry companion will lower a person’s blood pressure and reduce their anxiety. Imagine just how great an impact petting your cat or dog while snuggling on the couch with them will have on your blood pressure!
With pet ownership comes a responsibility to keep them healthy and active. Walking, running, or biking with your dog not only provides them with exercise, it exercises us, as well. We all know the health benefits of exercising: maintaining a healthy weight, improved immune system, disease prevention, strengthening bones and muscles, and improved mental health, just to name a few. Owning a horse can also provide an opportunity for exercise for both owner and pet. Who better to encourage us every day than our furry buddies?
Socially, having pets gets us out of the house and meeting new people. We have more opportunities to connect with our friends, especially those who have similar pets to us. Taking part in obedience classes, or participating in dog sports such as agility, and entering competitions with your horse leads to even more social encounters.
Children have many health benefits from owning pets as well. When a child connects with the family pet, they too experience lower blood pressure and reduced anxiety. They also stay active while helping to exercise their pets. The added benefits to children are in their social and emotional learning. Children learn compassion, empathy, and a healthy respect for all living things. Studies with children who have autism have found positive benefits to their social interactions, both with the family pet and others through their connections to pets.
Owning a pet is truly a win for both yourself and for them!