Health

Why our furries are so fabulous

Why our furries are so fabulous

Pets are precious family members who have such positive effects on us. Find out how.

We all know that having an animal companion improves your quality of life in a myriad of different ways. But while their devotion, unconditional love and soft purring on a lap may bring out the happy hormones, there is in fact a little more to it than that.

Emotionally, having a pet has been scientifically proven to lower stress levels, improve immunity, alleviate depression and anxiety, lower blood pressure and even reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks.

But, there’s more! Read on to discover why having a furry family member is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your loved ones.

1. Dealing with pain
Most of us know that a pet can be the best medicine when you are ill or feeling blue. Tests show that when dealing with chronic pain such as migraines or arthritis, their company reduces anxiety, which in turn reduces pain as the brain sends a calming signal to the body.

Pet therapy as part of the recovery process means less medication for the patient, a winning situation for all.

2. Improved mental health
People with pets laugh more and the quality time spent with one, whether brushing, stroking or simply reading with a cat on your lap means less stress and angst.

Alexandra Hospital in Virginia found that people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder are able to re-enter society more quickly as well as far easier when animals are part of their therapy.

A significantly decreased suicide rate has also been shown, not only is having a pet calming, but the unconditional love makes you feel like a superstar, and the sense of responsibility, having to care for yours, goes a long way towards a sense of purpose.

3. Lowers cholesterol levels
Men in particular have been noticed to have significantly lower cholesterol levels if they are pet lovers.

4. Helps children to develop
Kids who grow up in a pet-friendly household have an emotional development advantage over those who don’t. They have been shown to express themselves more easily, they learn responsibility especially if they have to feed and groom their pet, clean litter trays or take them for walks.

Children suffering from autism benefit due to the soothing calm that petting and loving a pet brings, while children with ADHD are encouraged to focus on responsibility through routine.

5. Monitoring of blood sugar levels
A study carried out in 1992 discovered that more than one third of pets – including dogs, cats, rabbits and birds – living with diabetics would alter their behaviour patterns when their person’s blood sugar levels dropped.

It is believed they pick up a chemical variation in the body. In addition to the above, owners have been proven to have lower blood pressure levels, stronger immunities, less strokes and decreased stress levels.

In light of all this, isn’t it time to visit the local shelter and take home a friend for life? They will love you unconditionally, stand by you through thick and thin and they make the best companions for kids.

We are running a Love my Pet competition, and have awesome prizes up for grabs! The first is from Cat Box Pet Hyper, the second from PETWORX.

All you need to do is send us photos of your four-legged friend, or friends, to competitions@getitlowveld.co.za with “Love my pet” in the subject line, to reach us by October 26. Winners will be chosen by a random draw and notified by email.

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