As someone who lives with and works with a dog how could I not put this article out?
We have a lot of understanding why having a pet in your life has positive health benefits. We know for example dog owners tend to live 4 1/2 years longer than non-dog owners.
However let’s be clear. It’s perfectly possible to have an animal in your life and not get the benefits. If you bring a pet into your home, and feel resentful it is a burden and don’t engage with it then clearly you’re not going to get the benefits. A good guiding principle can be if both of you and the animal are not benefiting then it’s not likely to work for you.
Here’s a collection of reasons why it is beneficial.
- We are social creatures, so interacting with another creature triggers those areas in our brain that tend to give our lives more meaning.
- The process of caring seems to activate parts of the brain, such as compassion, that have been shown to be very beneficial to us.
- The very act of gently and smoothly stroking the pet actually causes your brain to calm down. I know this effect very well as it is one of the components of the Havening therapy that I work with. The slow rhythmic stroking over the palms causes a particular brainwave to increase. Although with clients generally it’s not stroking the pet, having said that my guide dog is usually with me and I have at times with a client who is having a hard time, left them stroking my dog whilst the therapy went on.
Anyhow do you need any more excuses to get a dog?
Researchers just discovered a simple way to fight obesity, heart disease, and mental illness – by giving people puppies. That may sound barking mad. But a new round of medical research shows that dogs, cats, and other four-legged friends can significantly boost people’s physical and mental health – to the point where interacting with pets can actually be an effective form of therapy.