Pawsitive Impact: How Owning a Pet Improves Brain Health is about the health benefits of our furry companions.
I’m sitting here writing this with our 2 dogs at my feet, so I smiled when I saw this study published in the American Academy of Neurology Do pets have a positive effect on your brain health? .(1)
It found that long-term pet owners experienced a slower rate of cognitive decline as they aged than non-pet owners.
Let’s dive into the some of the brain benefits of pet ownership.
Seven Brain Health Benefits of having a companion animal
1. Reduced stress
Petting, playing, or simply being in their presence, can help reduce stress levels. This can lead to lower levels of stress hormones like cortisol, which can have positive effects on the brain and overall mental well-being.
2.Increased social interaction
Pets can serve as social catalysts and combat feelings of loneliness and isolation. Engaging with others, whether it’s through walking a dog or discussing a pet with fellow pet owners, can have a positive impact on cognitive health
3.Increased physical activity
Owning a pet, especially a dog, often necessitates regular physical activity such as walking or playing fetch. Engaging in physical exercise has been linked to improved brain health, including enhanced cognitive function, memory, and overall brain plasticity.
4.Enhanced mood and emotional well-being
Spending time with pets can increase the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which are associated with improved mood and emotional well-being. This can contribute to reduced symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.
5.Improved memory, attention, problem-solving
Engaging in training activities, playing games, or solving puzzles with a pet can enhance cognitive skills
6.Reduced risk of cognitive decline
Research suggests that pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, may be associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline and dementia in older adults. The combination of increased physical activity, social interaction, and mental stimulation provided by pets may contribute to this protective effect.
7.Emotional support and stress coping
Pets can provide unconditional love, companionship, and emotional support, which can help individuals cope with stress, traumatic experiences, and challenging life circumstances. Having this emotional support system can positively impact mental health and cognitive resilience.
(1) Reference HERE
Living with pets = fewer allergies and food intolerances in kids
A recent study HERE found that kids who live with pets have fewer allergies and food intolerances than kids with no pets.
This is a big deal because 1 in 10 kids are diagnosed with allergies in high-income, developed countries—whereas allergy rates are much lower in the developing world.
Why would this be?
It comes down to hygiene.
More hygienic environments have certainly had a huge positive impact on reducing the burden of infectious diseases.
But one unintended “side effect” of more hygiene has been an increase in allergies, asthma, food intolerances, and other immune imbalances.
The information contained in this blog is for educational purposes only and is not designed to replace or take the place of any form of medical or professional advice; and is not meant to replace the need for independent medical, financial, legal or other professional advice or services, as may be required.