I ON BEAUTY: Anti-aging Benefits of Pet Ownership
If you’re looking for an excuse to exercise, adopt a dog! Not only do our fur-kids require regular walks, they make outdoor games fun! In fact, there have been studies showing a significant increase in walking among pet owners. Around ¾ of dog owners have spent their time at a dog park at least once, a large portion of that visiting them regularly.
The added exercise offers clear anti-aging benefits of pet ownership, helping both parties stay in tip top shape well into their golden years!
- Increased outdoor activity can help lower blood pressure and maintain a healthy fitness level, for both dog and human.
Decreased Stress and Depression
Studies have shown an overwhelming decrease among aging pet owners, vs. members of the older generation who choose not to have pets.
Many older people are retired, no longer spending long hours around others on a daily basis, their social lives suffering. This lack of social contact can easily lead to depression, which in turn can open the door to a wealth of other health concerns. Those who care for pets, on the other hand, no longer need to feel isolated.
- Pet owners stress less and sleep better.
- Less stress leads to lower rates of depression.
- Dogs can offer a sense of security.
Improves Self Esteem & Social Life
Having that constant companion to rely on, that ‘fur child’ that’s always there, gives us a sense of security and improved self esteem. Merely walking a dog in the neighborhood can create a wonderful social setting with plenty of conversation starters, especially with other animal lovers.
- Decreased cortisol (stress hormone) levels along with increased serotonin (happy hormone) levels equals an overall decreased level of stress!
Therapy & Service Dogs
Unfortunately, many members of the older generation have suffered injuries at some point in their lives, either limiting their mobility or causing daily tasks to become difficult to all but impossible. Thankfully, man’s best friend is also one of the most valuable assets a person could ask for in these situations.
Extremely intelligent, highly trainable and eager to please, service dogs have gone far beyond simply improving quality of life for their owners. Believe it or not, one highly trained service dog (a prior rescue, and pit bull- for those advocates against the breed) not only fished his seizing owner’s specialized iPhone from his pocket, but managed to actually dial 911 several times, alerting EMS to the distressed Vietnam veteran. Not only did he dial 911, greeting dispatchers with a special set of barks, he led rescue workers to his owner upon arrival.
This story might seem hard to believe, but events like this occur so often today they could almost be commonplace. Service dogs are easily capable of guiding blind owners, opening doors, retrieving objects like a ringing phone or clothing, alerting owners in dangerous situations, even calming war veterans in the violent throes of PTSD- and these are just a few things dogs are capable of.
Today, there are believed to be almost 400,000 service dogs throughout just the United States alone- all thanks to one special German Shepherd, the first guide dog, almost 100 years ago!
Enhance Your Quality of Life!
There’s no argument about it; humans wouldn’t be where we’re at today without our pets. Spend time with one of the many animals at your local shelter, if only to volunteer, and experience these benefits for yourself!