by Loree Walden, Marketing Manager, Yavapai Humane Society
It’s quite possible that one of the ways to improve our immune system is wagging its tail at you right now.
Over 65% of U.S. homes have at least one pet. Through the years we’ve learned there are several health benefits related to having a pet. Some of those include lowering our blood pressure, exercising more and helping with social isolation.
Having a pet also correlates to better emotional well-being for those who may have mental health issues. Seventy-four percent of pet owners surveyed stated they had significant improvement to their mental health/stress levels from having a pet.
Stress is unavoidable for most of us, and it’s known to harm our immune system, making it harder to fight off infections. Having pets helps to reduce stress in ways as simple as sitting and petting them.
A cat curled up in your lap while you cuddle with it almost immediately lowers your blood pressure, which is usually increased from any stress or problems you may be dealing with. A study was done in which volunteers spent time petting a dog — the results showed a substantial boost in salivary levels of an immune antibody called IgA, which is a major component in our immune protection. A win/win for both humans and dogs!
Taking your dog for a walk and getting away from all the stress triggers is another way to help you feel better both mentally and physically. A nice walk gets your blood flowing, which helps your circulation, which is tied to your immune system!
There also are studies showing that having a pet may lower our risk of developing allergic diseases. In a 2012 study, it was found that contact with any pet at a young age was related to a reduced risk of developing eczema, an allergic skin condition.
Whether it’s to help increase our physical activities, provide companionship, help with socialization, or to help reduce stress, our pets are giving us far more than we probably realized.
They make our lives better in so many ways. The best of which is receiving their unconditional love and devotion.
If you’re looking for a furry family member to add to your family, visit yavapaihumane.org to see the available animals just waiting to make a difference in your life! Go ahead, get a pet for the health of it!