Did you know that the first week of October is National Walking Your Dog Week? It turns out that our four-legged friends are not only cute and cuddly, but their companionship can actually provide benefits to your physical and mental health.
Dr. Andrew Weil, noted integrative medicine expert and Vionic Innovation Lab member, asserts that “pet owners have less illness, recover faster from serious health conditions, and tend to be more content than people who do not own pets.” Here are some of his key findings:
- Fewer feelings of loneliness: A survey by the American Veterinary Association found that nearly 50 percent of respondents considered their pets to be companions, while only two percent thought of them as property. And a Purdue researcher found that 97 percent of respondents talk to their pets.
- Lower blood pressure: A University of Buffalo, NY study assessed 48 stockbrokers, all of whom were taking the blood-pressure-lowering medication lisinopril. Twenty-four of the brokers had a household dog or cat added to their treatment regimen, and enjoyed more stable cardiovascular health measures during stressful situations than did the 24 pet-free brokers. “When we told the group that didn’t have pets about the findings, many went out and got them,” said one of the researchers.
- Fewer allergies: This one may seem counterintuitive – pets trigger allergies, so how could they alleviate them? The answer appears to be early exposure. A study by University of Wisconsin – Madison researchers determined that when an infant and a dog share a household, the infant enjoys reduced allergic sensitization and fewer allergy-related skin rashes. The researchers noted that other studies had found a similar effect when cats and infants share households.
You can read more about Dr. Weil’s reasoning behind these health benefits here.
We’d also like to add that having a dog helps to keep you moving! Taking your pet out for walks every day gets your blood flowing, burns calories and can help you maintain a healthy fitness routine. When you’re accountable to your pup as well as yourself, you’re much more likely to get out and explore.
Keep your feet comfy and supported throughout all of your adventures with some of our women’s sneakers with support: