There is a running joke among the SPS team that we’ve gotten into better shape since we started working as pet sitters. It may sound funny, but spending time with your pet can have many health benefits. Keep reading to find out some of the many ways that caring for a pet can help care for you, too.
The most obvious health benefits of pet care can come from walking a dog. Walking for 30 minutes a day, five days a week is an activity proven to stimulate numerous health benefits including:
- Strengthening legs, engaging abs, and working shoulders and arms
- Building bone mass and reducing risk of osteoperosis
- Improving blood pressure, heart health, and balance
- Can limit odds of catching a cold
- Can reduce risk of colon cancer in women
- Can reduce the risk of alzheimer by half over 5 years
In addition to these general health benefits, SPS team members can attest to the potential upper body workout that can come from walking a particularly enthusiastic dog. An average dog can pull 2 to 3 times it’s own body weight is sudden jerks. That means that when an SPS team member is walking a rowdy 30 pound dog, they may have to hold a leash against 90 pounds of force. Talk about feeling the burn!
While the physical benefits of dog walking can be pretty obvious, there are emotional and community benefits as well. SPS team members can attest to the fact that walking a dog can reduce stress while increasing self-esteem and a sense of friendliness. Research has shown that dog owners who go for regular walks can be an asset to their community. Regularly walking dog owners are more likely to:
- Acknowledge and greet other people on the street
- Exchange favors with neighbors, and
- Meet others in their neighborhood
Sarah the Pet Sitter is a firm believer in the importance of being an active community member, and in the amazing ways that pets can help start conversations and make connections among neighbors. SPS also knows that caring for indoor pets can provide a number of health benefits, too.
There have been numerous studies of the health benefits of owning a cat. Much like the companionship of a dog, owning a cat can reduce stress and improve emotional well-being. However, cat ownership can result in some profound long-term health benefits such as:
- Lower risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, or stroke
- Improved immune function
- Reduced risk of allergies, and possible prevention of asthma in children, and
- Lower cholesterol and triglycerides
Cat ownership has also been shown to be helpful in supporting individuals with autism, depression, and elders. Studies have shown that nursing homes that allow cats have lower medication costs than similar homes that lack feline residents. Additionally, cats increase the likelihood of social interactions among individuals which increases a person’s health.
So, whether dealing with high cholesterol, loneliness, or just a little extra something around your middle, caring for a pet can provide numerous health benefits to help keep you and your companion animal in tip-top shape. It’s just one of the many ways that SPS animal clients give back to our team members, and we couldn’t be more thankful.