Pets can make you healthier, feel less isolated

March 28, 2019

While there are certainly days when Save with SPP wishes there were fewer barky, early-rising and cheese-focused pets living here, the value of having them cannot be overlooked.

Writing in the Chronicle-Herald, Darren Steeves notes that “there is a ton of research on the benefits of having a pet,” including lower blood pressure, healthier hearts, and weight reduction through walking.

“In 2010, a study found public housing residents who walked dogs from the SPCA five times a week lost an average of 14.4 pounds over the course of a year. And here is the kicker: participants considered it a responsibility to the dog, rather than exercise,” he writes.

There are also great benefits for our mental health, reports Australia’s Newcastle Herald.

The article quotes Dr. Paula Parker, speaking about research conducted by the University of Manchester for the Australian Veterinary Association. She states that “the human-animal bond plays a crucial and positive role in the health and wellbeing of the community.”

Those benefits, she says in the article, include “companionship, health and social improvements and assistance for people with special needs,” and she further adds that the research suggests pets “can help people who are struggling with a serious mental illness to manage their mental health.”

And even if you don’t have a pet at home, you may find one helping you when you’re away.  Toronto Life reports that therapy dogs are now on staff at the busy Pearson Airport. “There’s a new crew of canines hanging out at Pearson, but these dogs aren’t drug sniffers. Instead, they’re part of a new therapy dog program, in partnership with St John Ambulance, designed to help travellers de-stress,” the article notes.

We know all about dogs helping those with vision and hearing problems, but increasingly dogs and cats can benefit those with other conditions, such as PTSD.

It’s clear that pets help us physically and emotionally. Looking after them gives us a sense of purpose, even once the kids are gone and the nest is relatively empty. So if you are able to have pets and haven’t yet made the plunge, you might want to consider visiting your local SPCA to see if any furry friends are looking for forever homes.

You’ll need to have savings, in retirement, to look after your four-legged friends’ food and veterinary needs. A good way to stock that future larder is to establish a Saskatchewan Pension Plan account, and put away money regularly for your future. Check them out today.

Written by Martin Biefer
Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock. He and his wife live with their Shelties, Duncan and Phoebe, and cat, Toobins. You can follow him on Twitter – his handle is @AveryKerr22
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