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How Pets are (Secretly) Beneficial to Your Health

Shezaad Dastagir

Sometimes a helping paw is all we need.

Our movie marathon pals. Our cuddle companions during rainy nights. Our stress relievers after a long day at work. Our heartbreak healers! Pets indeed hold a special place in our lives, but their unconditional support doesn’t just stop there – animals do a lot more than just keep us happy, warm and entertained.

Pets play an important role when it comes to the well-being of our physical and mental health too. Dogs, cats, horses, hamsters, parrots and even fish have been known to be beneficial to health. And spending some quality time with a furry friend can greatly improve the quality of our life in more ways than you might be aware of.

Support people with disabilities

A Service Animal is an animal that is trained for the benefit of an individual with a disability to help improve the quality of their life. Dogs are the most common service animals as they are more receptive to training and hence make for not just an ideal companion but a good support system as well – to guide the blind, to signal the hearing impaired and to undertake tasks for people suffering from physical disabilities. However, in certain countries, other animals like miniature horses, ferrets, and monkeys have also been used as service animals.

Help people with autism or depression

Emotional Support and Therapy Animals provide emotional, physical, or social support. Reptiles, birds, and fishes are sometimes used as therapy animals. However, mammals make for better therapy animals. They help people with autism break out of their shyness by providing companionship and help them develop much-needed social and interactive skills. Support animals are also known to help people with their anxiety and depression by alleviating stress levels and feelings of loneliness.

Detect cancerous cells in the blood

Owing to their highly evolved sense of smell, dogs are known to sniff out many diseases including cancer cells in the blood. In fact, in a recent study, it was found that dogs were able to pick out cancerous blood with close to 97% accuracy. This is due to their smell receptors which are around 10,000 times more accurate than of a human’s. Dogs have also been trained to sense epileptic seizures and aid diabetic patients by detecting changes in their breath and sweat. No wonder they’re called humankind’s best friend.

Help lower the risk of heart disease

A cat’s purr is perhaps one of the most satisfying sounds on Earth and has a host of health benefits too. While a purring cat certainly means a happy cat, its purring has long been associated with a therapeutic healing ability on human bones and muscles. This is due to the frequencies at which a cat purrs (25-140 Hz), which are known to be therapeutically beneficial in improving bone density and healing. Studies have also indicated that such pets can help lower stress levels, which in turn can lower the risk of heart attack and stroke by around 30%.

For cuddles, giggles or a helping hand, we can all be in agreeance – there’s surely no soul purer and no love more unconditional than that of pets.

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