6 Health Reasons to Adopt a Furry Family Member

Have you thought about adopting a furry family member?

Whether you’re a dog person, cat person or into bunnies or birds, adopting a fur kid into your family is such a wonderful experience. And I’m gonna give you six reasons why you should do it (apart from the fact that they’re freaking cute and will give you unconditional love and companionship!).

Now, before I go on I must note that adopting a pet is not a decision to be taken lightly. This decision is a forever one. Do not adopt unless you are certain you can care for your fuzzball for their entire lives.

Reason 1: Bring Your Family Closer Together

Let me tell you why, research conducted by Cox (1) demonstrated that pet ownership increased family cohesion and family adaptability.

Family cohesion is the emotional bonding that family members have toward one another. And family adaptability is the ability of a family to change its power structure, relationship roles, and relationship rules in response to situational and developmental stress.

So basically, your new family member will:
– Bring your family closer and make those bonds of love that much tighter
– Will increase your family’s adaptability to stressful situations

How perfect does that sound?

Reason 2: Prevent Eczema, Asthma and Allergies in Your Kids

For all the mums and dads out there, why not get a furry baby to improve the health of your gorgeous baby?

The study (2) linked at the end of this post concluded that infants exposed to dogs in their first few years of life had a decreased risk of developing eczema, asthma, allergic rhinitis and food allergies. And also led to decreased allergic sensitisation.

Reason 3: Improve Your Heart Health

Several studies have shown that dog owners have lower blood pressure than non-owners — probably because their pets have a calming effect on them and because dog owners tend to get more exercise.

To prove it, I have linked to a Harvard Health article (3) below, discussing the latest scientific research on the heart health benefits of owning a pooch.

Reason 4: For Your Wallet!

This may not seem health related, but bear with me.

So, the researchers in the study (4) conducted a survey which showed that dog and cat owners make fewer annual doctor visits and are less likely to be on medication for heart problems and sleeping difficulties, when compared to non-owners. The study concluded that an important public policy implication is that pet ownership most likely reduces national health expenditure.

So adopt today to save on health costs in the future.

Reason 5: To Get You Moving

The science I’m about to hit you with right now may seem obvious, but they actually did a study on it so now it’s super legit.

The study (5) compared the walking habits of non-owners before and 12 months after buying a dog. And they found that dog ownership correlates with increased recreational walking. Shocker.

Regular walking is so beneficial to your health, as it increases your daily movement which comes with health benefits such as improved heart health and immunity and prevention of chronic disease. It also is a way to increase your sunlight exposure (soak up that vitamin D people!) and you spend more time in nature and green space (which has proven mental and physical health benefits).

So why not adopt your perfect walking buddy?!

Reason 6: To Improve Your Mental Health

As if you couldn’t love our canine companions any more than you already do, check out these findings in a study (6) on dog-assisted intervention for reducing anxiety in hospitalised patients with major depression. The researchers found a significant decrease in anxiety in the depressed patients who were able to interact with dogs as part of their treatment.

If the presence of dogs can help improve the outcomes of such vulnerable people, just imagine the mental health benefits you will experience.

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This post was written in honour of the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home

This shelter does amazing work, and is Sydney’s only no-kill, not-for-profit shelter.

The Sydney Dogs and Cats Home have outgrown their current shelter and are raising funds to obtain a newer, bigger, greener and better facility for their animals. Please open your hearts and consider donating if you can.

Visit their Facebook page or website to donate.

 

REFERENCES:
1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8481684

2. http://www.jacionline.org/a…/S0091-6749(03)02679-4/abstract…

3. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/having-a-dog-can-help-your-heart–literally

4. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1006892908532

5. Cutt et al, ‘Does getting a dog increase recreational walking’, International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 2008, 5:17

6. http://www.bmj.com/content/331/7527/1252?ecoll