It’s estimated more than 70% of the United States population owns a pet. Pets add so much value to our lives, mentally, physically, and emotionally. But is there any real evidence supporting what so many pet owners already know?
Zooeiya is a new term coined from ongoing research of the health benefits of interacting with animals. The word comes from the Greek root words “zoion” (animal) and “hygeia” (health). This research has indeed found some amazing benefits to owning a pet.
Emotionally, pets reduce anxiety, increase a sense of attachment, decrease isolation tendencies, provide comfort, and have been shown to reduce the severity of PTSD symptoms in veterans.
Physically holding or petting an animal has shown to lower blood pressure and blood cortisol (known as the stress hormone), reduce pain, as well as release the calming endorphin oxytocin (the “feel good” hormone). Dogs and other pets can also increase motivation to exercise and be around others, thus helping with social anxiety. Finally, pets can assist in bringing us back to the present, cultivating a deep sense of gratitude, purpose and belonging.
Our furry or not so furry friends are an important part of your healing journey. Whether mentally, physically or emotionally, they bring us a greater sense of peace and comfort, and above all else, unconditional love.
Photo Credit: Alliance of Therapy Dogs
Terri Kutchera is a Patient Consultant for Ketamine Wellness Centers