According to Tracy Martinez, RN, BSN, CBN, pets can enhance your health by having a beneficial impact on your social, physical, and psychological health. In a recent article in Obesity Action Coalition, she describes the benefits of owning a pet, particularly a cat or dog.

Boosts Immunity

Playing with your pet can increase neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. These have been shown to promote pleasure and induce calming effects. Stroking your cat or dog can promote a similar calming effect, reduce stress, and anxiety, which in turn, can lower blood pressure.

Physical Benefits

If you own a dog, this can help you get more exercise and stay fit. Numerous studies have shown that having a dog to walk can make the difference between getting out and walking daily and skipping days between exercise routines. Owning a dog fosters commitment on the owner’s part to provide exercise to the pet, as well as the commitment of staying with a walking exercise regime. It may sound routine, but it builds commitment and devotion to daily exercise.

Martinez also says that, “Dog owners were 34 percent more likely to get the exercise they needed to meet the federal guidelines for physical activity of 150 minutes per week. A University of Missouri – Columbus study found that walking your dog 20 minutes a day, five days a week produced an average weight-loss of 14 pounds” (Obesity Action Coalition, 2015).

According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise and cutting down on a high caloric intake helps lose weight. Regular exercise is equally important, which is one of the most powerful habits needed to help not regain weight. Brisk walking for 15 minutes burns approximately 100 calories, although different conditions and levels can vary the amount of calories burned.

Emotional Benefits

Owning a pet not only eliminates loneliness and frustration, but it also builds self-esteem. When people know they are wanted, needed, and adored, it brings them joy. This also offers companionship for an individual that lives alone or is alone for extend periods of time.

In conclusion, owning a pet can have many beneficial effects on your health. Exercise routines establish more of a commitment which contributes to weight loss success in the future. Take your pet for a walk and reap the benefits.


How to walk for weight loss. Wendy Bumgardner April 16, 2011
The health benefits of keeping a pet April 2011

1998-2011 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
Accessed May 10, 2011

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