There are many health benefits to owning a pet. A dog, for example, can increase opportunities to get outside, exercise, and socialize. Daily walks or simply playing with pets can help decrease your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Pets are good company and can help manage depression by giving us companionship. Here are 4 ways pets can positively impact your health.
Of all pets, dogs appear most likely to positively influence the level of human physical activity. Studies show that dog owners engage in more physical activity like walking, and are more likely to achieve the recommended level of physical activity. An increase in physical activity is beneficial to your health in many ways. It can help you maintain a healthy weight, lower your blood pressure, and build muscle.
However, dogs can get distracted easily by different smells or other animals which leads to abrupt movement and leash pulling. It is important to be aware of good body mechanics when holding a leash. Constant pulling or tugging of the arm can put added stress to your neck and your back. Talk to your healthcare provider to know more about body awareness when walking with your dog. Thankfully, with some training, many dogs are able to walk on a leash with minimal pulling.
Pets and Your Mental Health
Psychologists agree that nature can positively impact mood and mental health, and pets are a perfect way to facilitate this! Pets, particularly dogs, can also facilitate socializing with people through dog walking or spending time at the park. They provide companionship and help humans avoid loneliness, which are common reasons why people decide to adopt a pet.
Pets and Your Sleep
Most pet owners are familiar with the ways their pets affect their lives while they’re awake, but far less attention is paid to how pets impact sleep. Pets can make your sleep less restful at times. Sleeping with your pet can be hit or miss for sleep quality. While your pet can enhance your sleep by lowering stress, sharing a bed can increase sleep disruption, and disturb your sleep position. To prevent disturbance to your sleep ensure proper sleep training at a young age of your pet or have them sleep in a separate bed but close by if needed.
Researchers have hypothesized that having a pet (cats and dogs mainly) can improve their owner’s gut microbiome. This is due to the increased biodiversity that pets bring into your home and then share with their owners. Studies are still being done to confirm this hypothesis and to demonstrate which bacteria in the gut pets can contribute to!
Cautionary Tip: Puppies Love to Chew on Shoes, Socks, and Orthotic Inserts
Many dogs (and some cats) love to chew and destroy their owners’ most expensive shoes. Whether out of spite for leaving them alone during work or because they are teething, animals love to nibble away at strong-smelling shoes. Make sure to keep your boots, sneakers, and orthotic inserts in a closet or out of reach.
If you or someone you know has had some leash-pulling difficulties with their dog, our team of chiropractors, physiotherapists, and registered massage therapists are here to help! Learn more about our healthcare services online or call the CURAVITA Byward Clinic at 613-860-8600 or the CURAVITA Glebe Clinic at 613-237-9000 to book an appointment with any of our healthcare providers.