The Health Benefits of Owning a Pet & Pet-Friendly Places in Hamilton, NJ

Pets enrich our lives in so many ways. They are there for us in good times and bad. When we leave them at home, they eagerly and impatiently await our return. Then they greet us enthusiastically, letting us know just how much we were missed. They love us unconditionally, and it doesn’t take long for them to claim a portion of our hearts that will never belong to another.

If you share your home (and probably bed) with a pet, you already know pets are good for you emotionally. But did you know that they are also good for your physical health, as well?

Loneliness and Depression Eased by Pets

Having a pet makes a wonderful conversation starter, and can connect you with people who share your same. In fact, pets can help those who deal with shyness or social isolation by helping to break the ice. People will stop to ask about the breed. They love to see the dog do tricks. Although the conversation may often be just about the dog, other times, conversations may move onto other topics.

Many studies have shown pet owners have a better overall well-being and higher levels of self-esteem than their non-pet owning counterparts, because pets, especially dogs, promote therapeutic and psychological well-being as well as feelings of competence and autonomy.

Animals give an individual prone to depression something positive to focus on rather than the negative thoughts they often find themselves dwelling upon. Plus, the pet’s unconditional love and acceptance make it easier for a person dealing with depression to feel good about themselves.

Pets Reduce Stress

Our furry companions reduce the effects of stress in our lives. Just as petting an animal causes your body to release endorphins, just looking at your furry friend brings about feelings of joy because it causes your body to release a powerful feel-good neuro chemical, oxytocin. Oxytocin helps decrease cortisol, a destructive stress-induced hormone. Playing with, petting, and enjoying a pet can also elevate levels of dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters that are known to have pleasurable and calming properties.

Individuals in stress mode get into a “state of dis-ease” when harmful chemicals like norepinephrine and cortisol are released into the body, negatively affecting their immune system. Many studies have shown a link between plaque buildup in the arteries and these chemicals, often a precursor to heart disease.

Pet Owners Experience Reduced Cardiovascular Disease Risk

Speaking of heart disease…

In 2013, the American Heart Association reviewed numerous studies concerning pet ownership and its effects on cardiovascular disease risk. They found that owning a pet was good for your heart. In one study performed by the Australian National Heart Foundation, it was discovered that individuals who owned pets, especially men, tend to have lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Dogs, who often require long walks throughout the day, were especially beneficial in this regard since exercise also helps to keep cholesterol in check.

Although there are many ways you can exercise with your dog, walking is one of the best. In fact, in a study at the University of Missouri, individuals who walked with dogs improved their fitness more than those who walked with other people. Dog owners averaged 300 minutes per week walking time – almost twice the non-owner walking time of 169 minutes. And once dogs get into a routine, they won’t let you wimp out and skip a day; they can be great motivator!

The pleasure of stroking your pet reduces blood pressure. Research at the State University of New York found that for individuals already taking hypertension medication, blood pressure response to stress was reduced by half when they petted their furry companions.

Several studies have shown that heart attack patients who have pets survive longer than patients who don’t.

Chronic Pain Eased for Pet Owners

Although just having a pet around the home can help distract someone dealing with chronic pain, the benefit of sharing your home with a pet goes even further. Petting your furry friend releases endorphins – the same hormones responsible for a runner’s high. Endorphins are powerful pain relievers.

Dogs Help Monitor Diabetes

Just as seizure-alert dogs warn their owners of an impending seizure, dogs can be taught to alert their diabetic owner to plummeting blood sugar levels. As an individual’s blood sugar begins to plummet, the smell of their breath changes. Dogs can be trained to detect this odor, alerting their owner to a possible life-threatening condition while there is still time to safely correct it.

Several organizations train dogs to help with diabetic care: Early Alert Canines, Dogs Assisting Diabetics, and Dogs4Diabetics.

Pets and Seniors

Aside from some of the benefits already mentioned, such as reduced loneliness and depression, pets make great companions for the elderly. Dogs, who need to be walked on a regular basis, provide exercise as well as companionship. For someone with mobility issues, a cat offers companionship without the need for frequent walks. Cats, overall, require less care than their canine counterparts.

As part of their medical screening, one insurance company, Midland Life Insurance Company of Columbus, Ohio, asks its clients over the age of 75 if they own a pet. An affirmative often helps to tip the scales in the client’s favor.

Many shelters, local and regional, offer special programs matching seniors with a pet that fits their needs and abilities. If you are thinking about bringing an animal into your home or the home of a friend or family member, ensure the pet can be properly cared for.

Individuals with Alzheimer’s and Dementia Benefit from Pets

Pets are quite intuitive, and often form a special connection with someone who has dementia. Studies have shown that the presence of a pet in the home helps to reduce many of the problem behaviors associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia, such as agitation, irritability, anxiety, loneliness, and depression. Pets can also help individuals with dementia become more interactive and social, even those who have been unable to do so previously in social settings with other adults.

Studies have shown that therapy pets can also improve the nutritional intake of Alzheimer’s patients. In a 2002 study, fish aquariums were used by Purdue University researchers proving that even an aquarium could be used to increase food intake, leading to less required nutritional supplementation.

Several organizations have resources available for families interested in finding a companion pet for someone with Alzheimer’s: Pets for the Elderly Foundation, Pet Partners, and Therapy Dogs, Inc.

Pet-Friendly Places to Stay in Hamilton

Pets are like family; therefore, many of us like to take them with us when we travel. If you are looking for a place to stay with your furry friend while visiting Hamilton, you’re in luck. There are two pet-friendly lodging choices in Hamilton.

Residence Inn Hamilton allows any size pet for a $100 fee per pet, per stay. It is within the vicinity of many area attractions including Sayen Park Botanical Garden, the Grounds for Sculpture, and Mercer County Park.

Hamilton Airbnb Rentals offers many pet-friendly rentals. Pet policies are determined by each host of each Airbnb property. For more information on the pet fee, weight limit, and other restrictions, please contact each home host directly, or read the “house rules” section of their listing.

Pet-Friendly Restaurants in Hamilton

Who wants to leave their favorite four-legged friend in the hotel while going out to eat? Fortunately, there are three dog-friendly restaurants in Hamilton that welcome your dog to join you at one of their outdoor tables. These include JoJo’s Tavern, Jersey Girl Café, and Villa Maria. Bon appetit!

Pet-Friendly Park in Hamilton

Veterans Memorial Park is a 333-acre park with approximately four miles of walking trails meandering through beautiful wooded areas. A dog park, with a well maintained, fenced, off-leash play area, is on-site with separate enclosures for large and small dogs. Both enclosures have obstacle courses and agility equipment, benches, dog waste bags, and trash receptacles. Dogs must be leashed when not inside dog park enclosures.

Pet Services in Hamilton

When traveling with a pet, you may find yourself in need of pet food, medical care, groomers or any number of other pet related services. The following can be found in Hamilton.

Petsmart offers services, such as Banfield Pet Hospital and their grooming salon, plus all the products you may need to care for your pet as you travel.

Vist Bag of Bones Barkery, a bakery dedicated to providing your dog with drool-inducing, all-natural, gourmet dog treats.

Need a little help caring for your four-legged family member during your stay in Hamilton? You’re in luck. There are three!

Tailored Home Care, LLC is a well-established, bonded and insured pet sitting and dog walking company that is truly passionate about caring for your pet.

Paws on Patrol Dog Walking and Pet Sitting, LLC also offers pet sitting and walking services. They want to give you peace of mind knowing your pet is safe, cared, and loved.

Last but not least, Ruff Day Training and Pet Care also offers pet sitting and dog walking services in the Hamilton area.

In closing …

Pets enhance our lives in so many ways. Cats, dogs, and even fish have been shown to have a positive impact on our emotional and physical health. Whatever the animal, the magic of having a pet remains.

We here at Homestead at Hamilton understand how important pets are in people’s lives. We love animals too, and welcome them into our community. If you are looking for a retirement community that believes in the whole-person philosophy of wellness and well-being, including the benefits of owning a pet, look no further. Please contact us to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you!

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