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How pets are good for your health

My Labradoodle Barkley just turned 10 yrs old and I threw him a birthday party. Yep, I did the crazy dog lady scene with all the balloons, gifts and dog cake, and his dog cousins helped celebrate. Since my pup was 8 weeks old, he has been by my side as a trusted companion, a fur baby, and a best friend. He has accompanied me on my locums work to Hawaii, California, and Oregon and he has been an anchor to home. He is the epitome of exuberance - his energy is infectious. I know he will live only for a few more years, and when he dies, I will be devastated. But I still know that having him is one of my best decisions in my life.

Here are some ways pets are good for your health: (see full article, link below)

1. Pets help you live longer. In a 2017 study in Sweden, they found that owning a dog decreases your risk of death by 33% and lowers your chances of a heart attack by 11%.

Pets also boost your heart health by helping lower blood pressure and cholesterol. And if you already have heart disease, you are four times more likely to be alive after a year if you own a dog, And you are more likely to survive a heart attack. Cats have similar effect too!

2. Pets alleviate your allergies and boost your immune function. A study shows that newborns who live with cats have a lower risk of childhood asthma, pneumonia and bronchiolitis. Another study postulates that exposure to animals' bacteria affects our human microbiome in a healthy way.

3. Pets encourage you to be more active. If you walk your dog regularly, you will get more exercise and be less overweight than those who don't walk dogs. Yeah, that's a no brainer.

4. Pets decrease your stress. Petting a dog or cat and gazing into their eyes lowers your cortisol stress hormone and releases the feel good hormone oxytocin.

5. Pets help your social status. Studies show that people feel more positively towards a stranger when they have a dog and more likely to disclose personal information. Women are more willing to give out their number to men with dogs. Yep, dogs are chick magnets.

6. Pets help decrease depression, pain, and PTSD symptoms. Therapy dogs can help kids with autism connect better with others, and service dogs provide various assistance and even fight cancer!

With Jackson, Zorro, and Daisy
Barkley's 10th birthday! With Jackson, Zorro, and Daisy

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