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Do Dog or Cat Owners Live Longer?

Do dog or cat owners live longer? If you want to live a longer and happier, consider adopting a pet.

Science shows pet owners are reaping an impressive number of health benefits. These include reduced risk for heart attack and stroke, lower levels of pain, better immune function—and yes, improved longevity!

A large recent Swedish study found that dog owners have a lower risk of death from all causes. Especially those who live without the company of other humans. The conclusion of the study in 2017 was that dog ownership appears to be associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease in single-person households and lower mortality in the general population.

That said, if stress and anxiety are your primary concern, you might opt for a cat because cats appear to be better stress-reducers. A 10 year study of more than 4,000 Americans by researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Stroke Institute in Minneapolis found that owning a cat could reduce your risk of a heart attack by nearly one third.  The finding provoked a mixed reaction from heart experts and veterinarians. CLICK HERE FOR THAT STUDY



Did You Know Your Genes Are Not Your Destiny?

Did you know your genes are not your destiny? I made a short video about the new science of “epigenetics” (or “above the genes”) . Epigenetics indicates that that our lifestyle exerts a profound influence over which of our genes will be turned on (expressed) or turned off (suppressed) through our day.

Our ongoing diet, stress, pharmacy use, as well as our psychosocial, and physical environment all exert influence over our genes. To paraphrase Shakespeare, the fault lies not in our genes but in ourselves.

CLICK HERE to watch my short 12 MIN video about epigenetics

 

How Owning A Pet Can Improve Your Overall Health – PART 2

Pets can improve your emotional health. They give unconditional love and are always happy to see you. They shower you with love and attention.

This is PART 2 in a series on How Owning A Pet Can Improve Your Overall Health

CLICK HERE for PART 1

Knowing that you have someone who loves you at home gives you a sense of security and stability. Even if the rest of your world is chaos at the moment, having a loving relationship—even if it’s with a pet—can keep you grounded enough to cope. People with loving relationships toward their pets (it doesn’t count if you find them to be a burden or nuisance) also are more likely to be more confident in their day-to-day lives and have higher self-esteem.

Here are some specific ways pets can improve your emotional health

  1. Being around animals improves your mood. Throw a ball for a dog. Pet a bunny. Watch a fish swim or a turtle mosey around. You’ll feel calmer and less frantic.
  2. Just interacting with a pet can decrease the stress-inducing hormone cortisol and increase the feel-good hormone serotonin. You already know (from what you read in PART 1 of this series) that owning a pet can lead lower blood pressure. But that’s especially true during times of high mental stress, when pet owners are more likely to keep a lid on their blood pressure. .
  3. Pets make you feel happy. You know that gooey feeling you get when you stare deeply into your pet’s eyes and it lovingly stares back? That triggers the same hormonal feedback loop that a mother and her newborn baby feel when they gaze at one another. This release of oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, helps you bond to your pet and vice versa. It makes you feel happy, secure, and well. If you feel like your pet is your best friend—or even your child—now you know why.
  4. Growing up with a pet helps children develop empathy. Parents have long used pets to teach their children the responsibilities of physically taking care of someone else. Research shows that is just the start, because having a pet also improves kids’ emotional intelligence. The bonding hormones discussed above help children relate to a creature other than themselves. That helps kids learn to care for the feelings of their pet in addition to their physical needs. These lessons in empathy will help kids relate better to humans as they grow up. Children who have higher emotional intelligence tend to be more successful later in life.

PART 3 will discuss how Owning A Pet Can Improve Your Mental Health