By Dr. Al Townshend
The most important reason to spend time with your pet is that it is quality time for both you and your pet.
Dogs have long been called “Man’s Best Friend”. Today, studies suggest that all pets are our best friends. That includes men, women, and children. It’s been estimated that over 60% of all North American households have a pet. Those of us that are Guardians of a pet are known to enjoy a healthier and even longer life than those that do not have a pet.
How Do Pet’s Help People?
Pets are known to:
- Lower our blood pressure
- Coming home from a tough day and being greeted at the door by a loving pet wagging their tail and obviously glad to see you can immediately lower blood pressure and help to clear the mind.
- Reduce stress
- Just petting a pet can lower anxiety and reduce stress. Interacting with your pet provides an opportunity to refresh your mind and forget about everything except the joy you are experiencing.
- Help with our weight management
- They get us up and moving throughout the day
- Pets are “natural mood enhancers”
- Dogs listen to every word
- They make us smile
Most pets are devoted to their Guardian family, especially dogs. They show their dedication in many ways every day. Greeting you at the door when you come home after a hard day at work. Their tail wagging and a smile on their face, indicating how happy they are that you are home.
Cats have the reputation of being very aloof and with a careless attitude but it is hard to deny their affection when they are rubbing against you and purring or when they jump on the bed and cuddle up next to you.
The time you set aside to be with your pets is important to their health and well-being as it is for you. They thrive on the interaction with the Guardian family members.
Consider Their Mental Health
Their mental health depends on knowing they are secure and a part of the family. Their physical health is also dependent in large part on the time they spend with the rest of the family.
- Playtime provides a physical activity which keeps the heart and lungs healthy, lubricates the joints, tones the muscles, and improves balance and coordination. It can also improve mental health by challenging the pet to use its brain to solve problems.
- Mealtime strengthens the family bond and is an opportunity to praise and reward.
- Time at the pet park helps to improve a dog’s social skills by interacting with other dogs and new people.
- One on one time with your pet is one of the better ways to alleviate the stress of a busy workday and get a bit of exercise. It’s a win-win for both of you.
Roger Caras said, “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”