Adding a pet to the mix brings a whole new world of exercise opportunities for the whole family to enjoy. In particular, welcoming a dog to the family is a sure-fire way to get everyone out of the house and heading to the park on a regular basis. Walking your dog is a physical activity everyone can participate in, even if you pop the baby into a stroller and let your older kids run wild for half an hour in the park. It’s also a great way to meet your neighbours, make new friends, and spend time together.
Good for your head
Having a companion animal is good for your mental health too. Giving you a further feeling of stability and meaning for life, having a pet that’s by your side at home (or when you’re out exploring the world too!) has been carefully studied:
“The findings revealed that having a pet offers people a deep sense of ‘ontological security’ — that is, the feeling of stability, continuity, and meaning in one's life. Another study … described the findings of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which encouraged parents to get their children a pet; having a dog staved off anxiety and was linked to a lower body mass index (BMI). Now, a systematic review of these studies — and more — analyses the evidence suggesting that pets benefit people with serious mental health problems.”
Other health benefits
Further studies have also revealed that pet owners often reap other health benefits, including lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Moreover, if you’re ill or recovering from an operation, having a pet as a companion during your convalescence can help.
Children and allergies
Of course, adding a pet to the family means you need to be well-prepared and, at a medical level, it’s important to:
- Ensure your family members are not allergic to pet dander or fur.
- Ensure your whole family takes deworming medication, in accordance with the recommended guidelines.
- Ensure you’ve found a good veterinarian who will help you take care of your new pet.
LifeDoc can help
Schedule an appointment with your family doctor, to find out if any of your family battle with pet-related allergies. LifeDoc™ helps you take charge of your personal health information, making it easier to keep track of appointments and schedule those important check-ups, while securely storing your personal medical history. Register here or like the LifeDoc™ Facebook page for regular updates. You can also stay on track with LifeDoc™ developments on Twitter.