5 Ways Pets Benefit Your Health

Shel­ters are close to emp­ty for the first time in years, a result of peo­ple want­i­ng com­pan­ion­ship dur­ing the pan­dem­ic; more peo­ple than ever are expe­ri­enc­ing the ben­e­fits of own­ing a pet. Aside from being a loy­al com­pan­ion, own­ing a pet can lead to numer­ous phys­i­cal, men­tal and social health benefits. 

1. Increased phys­i­cal activity

Dai­ly walks and play­ing with your dog are a great way to sneak in extra phys­i­cal activ­i­ty espe­cial­ly when you have been seden­tary. Stud­ies have found that own­ing a dog increas­es a person’s phys­i­cal activ­i­ty by four times, com­pared to those who do not own a dog1.

2. Com­pan­ion­ship

Whether you live alone or miss your loved ones, pets are known to decrease feel­ings of lone­li­ness and reduce symp­toms of depres­sion. They can also help pro­vide rou­tine and struc­ture to your day with their required walks, feed­ings and exer­cise. Every­day care­tak­ing of a pet can teach kids respon­si­bil­i­ty and time man­age­ment skills as well.

3. Social­iza­tion

While tak­ing your dog on social­ly-dis­tant walks, you may run into oth­er peo­ple with the same idea. Researchers have found that dog own­ers are more like­ly to con­nect with peo­ple who live near­by because of their dog2. Pets also help own­ers learn to be more sen­si­tive and car­ing towards their human rela­tion­ships too. Have a pet that doesn’t require walks? Online tools like social media and web­site blogs offer plen­ty of oppor­tu­ni­ties for pet own­ers to con­nect based upon their shared interests.

4. Stress relief

Pet­ting, cud­dling and even star­ing at your pet releas­es hor­mones that can decrease stress and anx­i­ety. With more peo­ple work­ing from home dur­ing the pan­dem­ic, pets can help ease work or school-relat­ed stress. Even peo­ple who don’t own a pet can expe­ri­ence stress relief by watch­ing dogs and cats on video and social media platforms.

5. Improved heart health

Some pet own­ers have found that their blood pres­sure and cho­les­terol lev­els improved once they had a pet. Low­er blood pres­sure and cho­les­terol lev­els can improve over­all car­diac func­tion and can lead to less heart attacks among pet owners. 

    Own­ing a pet can be a won­der­ful expe­ri­ence and does bring joy to any home. Please only add a pet to your fam­i­ly if you have the capa­bil­i­ties of car­ing for it ful­ly. Remem­ber to also care for your­self ful­ly and sched­ule your well­ness exam with your pri­ma­ry care provider in 2021. Sched­ule online at dupagemed​ical​group​.com/​s​c​h​edule or by call­ing the loca­tion of your choice. 

    Our providers love their pets! 

    Nass­er Boshra, MD, Inter­nal Medicine

    Stacey Car­pen­ter, DO, Fam­i­ly Medicine

    M.K. Sheikha, MD, FACP, Inter­nal Medicine

    Michael Con­ti Mica, MD, Spine Surgery

    Ash­ley Fen­er­an, DO, Dermatology

    Julio Gon­za­lez, MD, Orthopaedics

    Jean Houli­han, MD, Inter­nal Medicine

    Ted Shieh, MD, FACEP, Imme­di­ate Care Centers

    Kevin Regan, MD, Inter­nal Medicine

    Steven Math­er, MD, Spine Surgery

    Poo­ja Dave Patel, FNP-BC, Dermatology

    Yeka­te­ri­na (Kate) Poly­atskaya, MD, Plas­tic Surgery

    1Reynolds, G. (2019, May 29). Dog Own­ers Get More Exer­cise. In The New York Times. Retrieved from https://​www​.nytimes​.com/​2​0​1​9​/​0​5​/​2​9​/​w​e​l​l​/​m​o​v​e​/​d​o​g​-​o​w​n​e​r​s​-​g​e​t​-​m​o​r​e​-​e​x​e​r​c​i​s​e​.html

    2Wood, L., Mar­tin, K., Chris­t­ian, H., Nathan, A., Lau­rit­sen, C., Houghton, S., … McCune, S. (2015, April 29). The Pet Fac­tor — Com­pan­ion Ani­mals as a Con­duit for Get­ting to Know Peo­ple, Friend­ship For­ma­tion and Social Sup­port. In PLOS ONE. Retrieved from https://​jour​nals​.plos​.org/​p​l​o​s​o​n​e​/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​?​i​d​=​1​0​.​1​3​7​1​/​j​o​u​r​n​a​l​.​p​o​n​e​.​0​1​22085

    3Hes­sel­mar, B., Hicke-Roberts, A., Lun­dell, A., Adler­berth, I., Rudin, A., Saal­man, R., … Wold, A. E. (2018, Decem­ber 19). Pet-keep­ing in ear­ly life reduces the risk of aller­gy in a dose-depen­dent fash­ion. In PLOS ONE. Retrieved from https://​jour​nals​.plos​.org/plos…

    Health Topics:

    • I strive to be open and honest with my patients. This helps establish strong patient-doctor relationships. I encourage patients to ask questions and I do my best to explain things in ways that are understandable. My goal is for patients to leave the office with an agreed upon plan of care and basic knowledge regarding their medical condition(s). I enjoy seeing all ages and am honored to see entire families.