Pet ownership promotes beneficial health decisions, good lifestyle choices

Dylanne Petros and Dylanne Petros

Pets are more than just an animal to some owners; they can be like a child to owners who want the best for their pet.

In order to keep pets healthy, owners are then better motivated to keep themselves healthy too, said Faith Yingling, director of Wellness.

“When you are caring for something you also want to provide the best for either that person or animal,” Yingling said. “You want to make sure that that person or animal is healthy and happy so you want to make sure that you’re providing the best environment and the best … options for them … whether it’s food or exercise or toys.”

Taking pets for walks can be a “win-win situation” for owners because they are making sure their pets stay healthy while staying healthy themselves. Pets can also be seen as support for humans.

“Even if it’s not a pet, even if it’s another person, even if it’s a friend, I think we’ve seen that in research … having that social support is very important [in working out],” Yingling said. “Having something or someone to do things with can be very beneficial.”

Senior Nicolas Doyle benefits especially from having his Chihuahua mix, Meryl.

“I exercise more for the obvious reason of taking her for walks. I try to give her at least 20 minutes of walking time a day, in addition to taking her out throughout the day,” he said.

Being alive longer is another reason that may factor in when it comes to exercise and taking care of their pet,Yingling said.

Senior Nicole MacAlpine has her Great Dane, Shandy, on a holistic diet, which has motivated her to be healthy.

“Great Danes don’t live as long so I have her on the diet. Since the diet takes time and effort I feel like I should do the same for myself,” she said.

Pets can also give off energy that the owners will pick up on allowing them to become more motivated to do activities with them.

Taking a dog for a walk and seeing its tail wag is part of the win-win situation for people with pets, Yingling said.

“I know that if my dog’s happy, I’m happy,” she said.

MacAlpine works long hours student teaching so she treats Shandy by going on walks together, MacAlpine said.

“Animals are no different than people,” Yingling said.