How Pets Impact Our Health

Whether dog, cat or lizard, pets play an important role in many of our lives. Their unconditional love, boisterous personalities and happy-go-lucky demeanor can’t help but put a smile on your face. But did you know that the impact of pets goes beyond the surface? Pets can positively impact your overall mental and physical health. Malena Caruso, wellness specialist at ProMedica, shares about how pets impact our lives for the better.

Mental Health Benefits

Pets impact our overall mental health for the better. Caruso explains that one of the main ways that they do this is by giving us something to care about outside of ourselves. “Sometimes we get so consumed in our own issues and thoughts,” Caruso says. “Having an external point of focus is really important to help us recenter and focus on what matters.”

Studies over the years have proven that people who live alone without family members, friends or pets have a lower life expectancy. This is believed to be attributed to higher rates of depression and anxiety. Owning a pet is a great way to add companionship and bring a greater sense of purpose to your life.

Physical Benefits

Pets often help get us live more of an active lifestyle. Maybe you take your pet for a walk every day, throw a ball or play with an interactive toy (such as a cat wand). Whatever you do, you’re doing more than you would without a pet around to do it with! Having a pet is also a great excuse to get outside more often. Getting your daily dose of Vitamin D from the sun is a great way to boost your mood and help regulate your body systems, leading to things like better sleep and a strengthened immune system.

“We can learn so much from pets – from being present in every moment to living every moment like it’s our last,” Malena shares. “Take advantage of all that they are able to teach you!”

Before bringing a pet into your home, make sure your home (and lifestyle) is ready for the change. Talking with the local shelter or veterinarian is a great way to prep for your knew pet!

Even if you are not able to own a pet of your own, you can still reap many of the benefits that pets offer and give back to homeless animals in your community by volunteering at a local shelter.

Learn more about how pets impact our health in this podcast episode of Happily Ever After 40.