A New Leash on Life-Pets Can Help Unleash Better Health

A new year comes with people thinking about making changes, getting healthy, and making the most of their life. And if you’re a pet owner, those cuddly creatures are important to your well-being. The Cambridge Dictionary explains the term, “new lease on life” this way: an occasion when you become more energetic and active than before. If 2024 is a year you’re looking forward to a new lease on life, we encourage you to consider a new leash on life and let your furry friends help.

Pets Keep Us Active

It doesn’t matter if you have a cat or a dog, they keep us active by demanding our time, attention, and help. Dog owners know the morning demands of their canine companions needing a walk or playing fetch. Cat owners are all to familiar with their playful wrestling matches.

Most animals wake up each morning wanting to get out, take a walk, eat breakfast, and get moving. Because these often involve their human companions, we benefit from their needs and demands. Kaiser Permanente notes, “One study found that dog owners did more walking and physical activity than non-dog owners, and they were 54% more likely to get the recommended level of physical activity.”

While dog owners tend to walk their dogs daily (and many of the heart health studies attribute these benefits to walking), several studies have explored improved cardiovascular health even for owners who aren’t the ones walking their dogs (American Heart Association).

Pets Give Us Healthy Routines

Healthy routines are part of healing living. Our pets have naturally healthy routines and will nudge us to adapt. Humans can find themselves living sedentary lives consisting of too much sitting, sleeping, and swiping. Pets – like children – force us out of lazy routines into healthier routines.

Going to bed on time, getting up and being active, eating on a schedule, taking regular walks, etc. – these are all healthy routines. If we mimic our pets, our routines may take a turn for the better.

Pets Help with Mental Health

Numerous studies have linked pet ownership to better mental health. Miami University provides one of the published studies to consider. Their summary statement from three study groups states, “Pets can serve as important sources of social support, providing many positive psychological and physical benefits for their owners.”

Pets Love Us Unconditionally

One beneficial factor pet owners understand (and we really don’t need studies to confirm) is this: Loving pets helps prevent loneliness. They seem to have a sense when we are down or discouraged.  Pet’s don’t require explanations or rationalizations, they just give and desire companionship.

Starting a new year with new goals is a natural rhythm for many people. Your pets may be your best supporters when it comes to well-being. So grab that “leash on life” and begin your year with some of the best companions on the planet.


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