top of page

The Surprising Benefits of Pets on Physical and Mental Health

Summer is here, bringing with it long, sunny days perfect for outdoor adventures. As we soak up the sunshine, it’s the ideal time to appreciate the joy and health benefits our furry, feathered, and finned friends bring into our lives. Whether it's a dog eagerly wagging its tail for a walk in the park, a cat curling up in the sunniest spot of the house, or a bird chirping cheerfully, pets have a remarkable impact on our physical and mental well-being.

As you may have seen on my social media, I’ve added a new furry friend to our family. Her name is Poppy, and we are so in love! Poppy is our second dog: she and Barley are starting to play together: which is so cute! Poppy is a Bernese Mountain dog, my dream dog breed. We were so lucky to have found her. My husband and Jared were in the Lloydminster area in May for his grandma’s funeral. It was a beautiful celebration and we got to reconnect with a lot of his extended family and share some lovely memories of Mick. We stayed with his aunt, Kaylee, who just got a new puppy, and mentioned that we had always wanted a Bernese. We make our way back to Regina, and within 48 auntie Kaylee found some Bernese Mountain dogs nearby. So Jared made the road trip here again that Friday and Poppy joined the Wheeler- Kehler clan. 

Physical Health Benefits

  1. Increased Physical Activity: Dogs, in particular, need regular walks, runs, and playtime. This encourages pet owners to get outside and move more, which is especially enjoyable during the summer months. Regular physical activity helps maintain a healthy weight, improves cardiovascular health, and boosts overall fitness.

  2. Lower Blood Pressure: Studies have shown that interacting with pets can lower blood pressure. The simple act of petting an animal can produce a calming effect, reducing stress and anxiety.

  3. Improved Heart Health: Pet owners often have better heart health, with lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The companionship and routine associated with pet care contribute to these heart-healthy benefits.

  4. Boosted Immune System: Exposure to pets can strengthen your immune system. Playing outside with your pet can expose you to various microbes that can help your body build a stronger defense against illnesses. This is especially true for kiddos : having a pet in the home helps prevent allergies in the future.

Mental Health Benefits

  1. Stress Reduction: Pets provide a sense of calm and comfort. Spending time with a pet can lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, which improve mood.

  2. Combatting Loneliness: Pets offer unconditional love and companionship. For those who live alone or feel isolated, a pet can provide a sense of purpose and reduce feelings of loneliness.

  3. Enhanced Social Interaction: Walking a dog or visiting the vet often leads to social interactions with other pet owners. These interactions can help build a sense of community and improve social skills. I think this is especially important to make those connections with people post pandemic.

  4. Therapeutic Benefits: Many animals are used in therapy for mental health conditions such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression. The presence of a pet can provide emotional support and a sense of security.

Pet Joke: Why do fish never do well in school?

Because they’re always swimming below “sea” level!

If you’ve been considering adding a furry friend to your life, I can vouge that it has been a challenging, but rewarding experience adding a 4 month old puppy into our family. She brings lots of love and joy to our family! This summer, embrace the joy of having a pet and the health benefits they bring.

In good health,

Dr. Larissa


bottom of page