Jamie’s 5K Challenge: Pets for Prevention – Having a Pet Is Good for Your Health

Published on July 5, 2011

Updated on November 4, 2019

I love animals. When I see a friendly animal I cannot help but ask the owner if I can pet it.  This stems from the lovely childhood my parents gave my sister and me. We always had a house full of love, both for one another and for our pets. Over the years we have had cats, dogs, fish, a bird, and an assortment of wild baby animals nursed until they could be returned to their natural habitat.  A lot of joy in my life has come from my furry friends and I know that I am not alone.

For all of the pet lovers out there reading this, what I am about to share may come as no surprise. According to the 2011-2012 American Pet Products Association National Pet Owners Survey, 62% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 72.9 million homes.  That’s incredible! What’s even more incredible; are the amazing health benefits that are correlated to pet ownership. Did you know that:

  • Pets Help to Lower Blood Pressure– A recent study at the State University of New York at Buffalo found that people with hypertension who adopted a cat or dog had lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations than those who did not own a pet. (Dr. Karen Allen, State University of New York at Buffalo)
  • Pets Help to Reduce Stress– Walking with a pet helps to sooth nerves and offers instant relaxation. Studies conducted worldwide have shown that the impact of a stressful situation is lesser on pet owners, especially males, than on those who do not own a pet. (Josephine M. Wills, Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, United Kingdom)
  • Pets Help to Prevent Heart Disease– Because pets provide people with faithful companionship, research shows they may also provide their owners with greater psychological stability, thus a measure of protection from heart disease. (National Institute of Health Technology Assessment Workshop: Health Benefits of Pets)
  • Pets Help to Lower Health Care Costs– People with pets actually make fewer doctor visits, especially for non-serious medical conditions. (National Institute of Health Technology Assessment Workshop: Health Benefits of Pets)
  • Pets Help to Fight Depression– Pets help fight depression and loneliness, promoting an interest in life. When seniors face adversity or trauma, affection from pets takes on great meaning. Their bonding behavior can foster a sense of security. (Between Pets and People: The Importance of Animal Companionship)

Shadow, Jamie's Cat

This year the Prevent Cancer Foundation is proud to announce a new opportunity for pet lovers out there at our 5K event on September 24. Join the Pets for Prevention Team and bring your pet out to the 5K event at the scenic West Potomac Park in support of cancer prevention research, education and outreach.  Family and friends can make donations in support of your pet and help the Pets for Prevention Team reach the goal of $2,500.  We encourage pets of all kinds to participate and owners to help raise vital funds for cancer prevention through the Pets for Prevention Team!  Just remember pet owner etiquette: leash your pet and pick up after your pet on the event day.

After all, why should owners have all the fun? Make it a fun day for you and your pet! You have to walk the dog at some point anyway. Walk for your health and to prevent cancer!

What are your thoughts on this new “Pets for Prevention” opportunity? Will you  and your pet join us to take steps to save lives? We would love to hear from you!

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