The Health Benefits of Pets

The Health Benefits of Pets (featuring Dee Dee the pug)

Now that Daniel and I are staying with my parents in Massachusetts (house hunting!), I notice I have a lot more energy in the mornings and surprisingly, in the late afternoon—a time when I typically need a pick-me-up cup of coffee. I spent a few days thinking the energy was the result of adjusting to a new normal, before realizing it was something else entirely. Yesterday as I was working on my laptop, I looked down at the cute-as-can-be pug that had wedged herself between my leg and the side of the chair. I felt the urge to take her out, to walk her in the woods behind my parents’ house. It dawned on me that she might be the reason for my newfound energy.

For Christmas, Daniel and I both got new FitBits. We love them. We’re the crazy people tracking our sleep, our daily steps—all of it. Just seeing how many more steps we get here in Massachusetts only confirms how helpful this sweet little pug has been in keeping us active all day long.

After a little googling, I’ve learned that pets really do have a positive influence on overall health. Studies show that caring for pets reduces blood pressure and stress and promotes relaxation. It also helps prevent and lessen the symptoms of mental deterioration in older people. Pet owners also have more success losing weight!

One of the best aspects of living with a pet is that you always have motivation to stay active. It’s much easier to neglect your own health and well being than a dog you’re caring for—or at least that’s how it feels to me. Going for a long walk every morning can seem like a bit of a chore, but when you do it with a dog, their energy is infectious.

Every morning lately, Daniel, Dee Dee, and I go for a long walk through the woods in the neighborhood. After that, Dee goes down for her daily 12 hour nap, and we start the day feeling a little more energized and happy.

The Health Benefits of Pets (featuring Dee Dee the pug)

Have you noticed a difference in your health and mood when you are around your pets?

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11 thoughts on “The Health Benefits of Pets

  1. Hootie

    Soooo glad to see Dee Dee! Oh yes, my pug keeps me going, absolutely! She is struggling in her old age and isn’t as active but she still keeps me moving along because her needs keep me from getting sucked in super deep on tasks that I might otherwise get lost in for an unhealthy amount of time. We recently lost my husband’s shih tzu and what surprised me most about that was realizing how much she had been a part of my daily routines. It felt really odd to not include all of the tiny actions that I would do for her every day. I can imagine those things really add up.

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  2. Aly ~ Cooking In Stilettos

    My Jr. Sous Pug always keeps me active. He’s a sucker for a quick walk outside to see if his friends are out and about, for him to play police pug and patrol our complex parking lot (and he looks for cars that are unfamiliar so he can sniff their tires – go figure) and is on a pretty consistent schedule. I wouldn’t change it for the world. He’s got health issues so I keep a close eye on him as well (he’s diabetic and recently had cataract surgery so frequent vet visits are always on the agenda – he thinks “oh added trip, plus I get turkey”). Added benefit of working from home is that my pug is always there and how can you stay stressed when looking at their adorable faces. Love your pug – absolutely adorable Andie!

    Good luck with the house hunting!

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  3. Carly

    I am totally in agreement, Andie! Not only is my dog, Sunny, good for keeping up my activity level, but he helps me get a restful sleep. A year ago, Sunny came upstairs for the first time ever and begged to come into bed with me. There was a thunderstorm outside and he needed comforting. Well, a year later, he is still sharing the bed with me and now he is comforting me. And I sleep fantastically as a result. He curls up against me in spoon fashion, and our breathing becomes attuned to each other. They say that having a dog sleep with you is very good for your health as well, due to the calming influence.
    Sunny is my best buddy, the best companion I could ever have, and I feel very blessed!

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  4. Vivian Kolbinskie

    Love love love! Before I moved in with my boyfriend I was always walking and hiking with my dog, mickie. Coming from a fellow Massachusetts resident, hiking with your dog is the best way to relax and definitely have more energy.

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  5. Ashley

    Yes! Our dog Ruger is actually a registered Emotional Support Animal. He has contributed to a serious decrease in my husband’s anxiety and it is a beautiful experience watching them interact with one another. Though it is not the appropriate accommodation for everyone’s situation, I do truly believe in the power of pets to support your overall wellness. Thank you for writing about this!

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  6. janet

    there is no better companion than a pug. After my two seniors passed away last year, in December I rescued another one, this time a pug mix. She definitely keeps me on my toes…and instead of a 12 hour nap…it’s only 10 – haha.

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  7. Alison

    Yesterday, while I was trying to do 30 Day Shred and my Aussie Lab was in the way, laying on the exercise mat, and licking my face, I did not feel as though he was improving my health or my mood. He was only making me annoyed at his existence. I am now angry at myself for yelling at him, he only does that because he loves me and he wants to play. I am definitely more active now that we have him.

    Thanks for the reminder!

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  8. Savvy

    I dog and house sit a fair amount- and one of my favorites is Molly, who could be DeeDee’s twin!! They sit on top of couch cushions in the same exact post, too! Molly was found abandoned in a Safeway market parking lot….when no one claimed her, my friends drove to Tacoma to bring her home!! She’s a love!!

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  9. Susan

    I laughed when I saw the picture of Dee sleeping on the top of the back cushion of the couch. I got a new couch and won’t allow my dog to do it anymore as he’s now too big. I agree. My dog is my constant companion and gets me moving.

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