Saturday, 5 April 2014

Pets keep you perky

Imagine having a friend that’s always pleased to see you – and doesn’t ask any difficult questions (like how come you’ve got a curry for tea, but I just have dry food, like EVERY day?). This friend is also a born optimist and always ready for a cuddle or a chat and maybe even an endorphin-boosting walk (the last two options don’t work for a goldfish). Yes, pets can give you a health boost like no other, and here’s why…

Your most loyal companion 

As any pet owner will tell you, seeing their pet gives them instant lift. Their love and devotion is unconditional – and does not rely on you looking or feeling a certain way. An animal companion can make even the worst of times bearable, bringing routine and meaning into the most chaotic of lives. And having a pet can also improve your social life – as you meet and mix with other owners and often seem more approachable when you are with a pet – preventing loneliness and isolation. In fact, pets are so widely recognized as a form of therapy that schemes bringing together animals and people of all ages and from all walks of life operate in hospitals, and social care and rehabilitation settings across the world.


The best personal trainer you’ll ever have

Having pets that need outdoor exercise such as dogs and horses, or keeping animals that require some regular physical activity – like chickens for example – means a life less sedentary. Since walking your dog or mucking out your horse or chooks isn’t optional, regular and often daily workouts become the norm. If you’re the type that would lose interest in a gym or an aerobics class, but would never let their pet suffer, this is the regime that will keep you moving and permanently motivated – even when its raining! 

And probably as a by-product of taking more exercise, it’s been shown dog owners in particular have lower blood pressure and healthier hearts than those that don’t have a pooch. Stress is also less likely to negatively affect a person with a pet – stroking your furry or feathered friend can be a great way to relax.

Immune boosting buddy

Research has shown that children brought up around animals are less likely to get allergies and asthma. Studies have also shown that children that grow up in homes with pets benefit immensely – with fewer colds and ear infections during their first year than those living in a pet-free environment. This stronger immune system is probably a result of earlier exposure to a wider variety of bacteria – the type you get when you play fetch with your dogs soggy tennis ball for example – and also a by-product of being more active and happier generally – a side-effect that works equally well for the young and young-at-heart! Just remember to wash your hands before meals!!!

Ask an expert

If you are thinking of getting a pet however, you must consider what that animal will need in terms of home environment and care. Research the type of pets you are interested in carefully – considering how the pet will suit your lifestyle now – and in the future. Consider a range of animals and breeds. A puppy left alone for long periods of time during the day will not be happy, it will bark and upset your neighbours, it will destroy your skirting boards and slippers. A cat meanwhile might happily pass its days without you on a sunny windowsill, slipping in and out of a cat flap as it pleases. Ask other pet owners, speak to a local vet and check out great free online resources like Your Pet.

Do you agree? Has your pet made you happier and healthier? Or are you considering a pet and want to know more? Let me know in the comment box below.

Thank you for reading

Vanessa. X
running

11 comments:

  1. When I was pregnant I stay at home and my only company are the dogs, all 7 of them). They keep me busy. They keep me company and when I feel sad the youngest one Maru will stay on top of my toes and I feel better afterwards. Pets are.. they keep me active, sane, company. They are no longer pets but family. #mbpw

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    1. Thank you for commenting - and yes my dog was great company when I worked at home. Not sure I could cope with seven though...

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  2. The immune boosting point is so true. I always say you don't see people who grow up on farms with allergies (OK, there may be one or two.) I suspect that all those antibacterial products we use aren't great for strengthening your immune system (or at least that's my excuse for letting my kids play in the mud all the time!)

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    1. I used to love looking under rocks and playing with insects when I was little, and I'm not that sure I was into hand washing either!!!!! Needless to say when I was travelling in Asia I never got the tummy bugs... Thanks for commenting.

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  3. Hi Vanessa - What a lovely idea to write about pets. As a a child, I was always very scared of dogs (got bitten a few times!). This stayed with me right through to when I had my own children. I was determined I would not pass this onto them. I adopted a few strategies and now you would never know I have spent a lifetime being wary. The children, thankfully, are all very comfortable around dogs. Who knows? Maybe one day we might even get a dog... Never thought I would say that!

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  4. I think pet owners are (on the whole!) a lot more responsible these days - and know to socialise puppies from an early age so that they are far more approachable. I grew up around dogs, but am still cautious - and teach my children to be - around dogs that we do not know. I've taught the kids always to ask before approaching somebody's pooch, however cute it looks. They are still animals after all with real teeth - not cuddly toys! I yearn for a dog again, but know that it's a big commitment and not one to be undertaken lightly...and the kids would have to learn not to leave their things all over the place!!! Thanks for commenting.

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  6. Great piece! Haven't regretted my decision to get a dog (yet) although my hubbie might disagree!!! Kids love him and I enjoy his company. The dog-walking, although a bit of a bind, definitely has a positive impact on family health. Go on Vanessa, get one! You know you want one....

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    1. I do want to - but the responsibility is huge! I miss my pointer - he was lovely company when I was at my desk writing. Soon, soon.... Thanks for commenting.

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  7. Vets North Somerset
    I can definitely relate on on the first one and I love it. They are indeed loyal and lovable. Thanks for this wonderful post of yours.

    http://wellpets.co.uk/worle/

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    1. Hi Cleo - thanks for stopping by and commenting. I went to a little local companion dog show this weekend with the kids - and you could just see how the owners - all ages, shapes and sizes - just loved their dogs. So much smiling!

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