From Man’s Best Friend to… Colleague? Happy National Pet Month!

May is National Pet Month.  We need to give a shout out to our furry, feathered, finned, scaly and hooved friends. Nearly 85 million American homes boast at least one beloved animal companion. Over 11 million U.S. households welcomed a new friend over the course of a very unsettled past year and they quickly held court as our new at-home office mates.

At a time when 65% of Americans between the ages of 18-34 admit to struggling with their mental health, we could not think of a more appropriate time to remind our readers of just some of the health benefits of animal companionship.

Studies have shown that the bond between people and their pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to their owners.  Animal companionship can introduce opportunities for exercise, fresh air and socialization.  Pets can help manage feelings of anxiety, stress, loneliness, or depression by providing us with a sense of purpose, routine and unconditional, non-judgmental companionship.

Some additional health benefits of having a pet include:

  • Caring for an animal can help children grow up more responsible, secure and active.
  • Increased levels of oxytocin, a hormone linked to positive emotional health outcomes.
  • Decreased feelings of isolation, anxiety, and loneliness.
  • Improved cardiovascular health including decreased blood pressure & cholesterol.
  • Having a dog during childhood may protect against the development of Schizophrenia later in life.

With that said… It’s time to introduce us to YOUR best pet pals! Please send us a photo via Facebook  with your pet’s name and a line or two about why they Rock! We will share as many of these photos as we can with our awesome Challenge community. Added bonus… Two (2) of you pet lovers will win gift cards to PetCo to help you on your pet ownership journey! If you do not have a Facebook page, reach out via [email protected].