As the holidays come to an end, we’re left with the wonderful memories of the past year. Our loved ones enrich our lives every day, including our beloved pets. In fact, companion pets such as dogs and cats can make our lives better in very unique ways. But what makes our pets so special to us, and how can they impact our lives?
Here are the top 5 ways in which pets make our lives better:
Endless Loyalty and Devotion
All pets show affection in their own way. Dogs, especially, are in a class all by themselves. A dog will altruistically dedicate themselves to enriching the lives of their most-loved human companions. This is a display of love and affection in its purest form. Cats show affection in similar ways, including snuggling on their owner’s lap, or simply sleeping near them.
The human-animal bond is a powerful symbiotic relationship. It enhances the well-being of both the pets and their owners. There is a growing body of research recognizing the positive health impacts that come with this special bond. This includes boosts to both our physical and mental health.
From improved cardiovascular health - including reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels, to lowering the risk of developing allergies and asthma in children, the range of physical health benefits our pets give us are vast. For people without the motivation to stay consistently active, dogs give us a reason to get out for walks every day, thus contributing to lower blood pressure levels and a healthier heart.
Dog and cat owners also suffer fewer minor ailments like colds. Moreover, due to a dog’s highly acute sense of smell (10,000 times greater than ours), a dog’s super-powered sniffer can detect potentially life-threatening medical conditions like seizures, diabetes and cancer.
A healthy mind is a calm and positive mind. The simple act of touching a pet can have significant benefits to our mental health. Pets have been linked to a reduction of the stress hormone cortisol in our body, but it goes deeper than that. Owning a pet makes us less likely to suffer from stress, anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Companion and therapy animals work wonders for treating everything from autism, learning disorders, PTSD, and more.
Life Lessons Learned
The curse of every pet owner is the heartbreaking reality that we inevitably have to say goodbye one day. Studies have shown that the loss of a beloved pet can cause overwhelming psychological distress, but there is much that can be learned from this.
Our pets live freely in every moment. They appreciate the present for what it is – nothing more, nothing less. They do not feel sorry for themselves, and their altruistic nature is something to be admired and embraced. They do not hold grudges, they overcome fear with love, and they enjoy the journey of life to the fullest. Too often we focus our thoughts on the past or the future, without taking the time to appreciate what is happening in the here and now.
So, as we share love and laughter (and food!) with our friends and family during the holidays, let us all take some time to show extra appreciation to our pets, and how fortunate we are to have them in our lives.
Brandon Forder – also known as The Pet Expert - is Vice President of Canadian Pet Connection, a family owned and operated business located in Meaford, Ontario. He has over twenty years experience specializing in pet nutrition, behaviour and lifestyle. Canadian Pet Connection is an industry leader committed to providing their clients with the highest levels of personal, attentive service. Learn more at www.CanadianPetConnection.com.