I found out something today about pet pampering that has my tongue wagging (sorry, I couldn’t resist).
It seems that the tokens of affection I present to my pets – extra comfy beds, entertaining toys, trips to the groomer and tasty treats – pale in comparison to the way others dote on their animals.
According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), U.S. pet owners will spend an estimated $50.84 billion in 2011. What in the world are people spending so much money on?
Food expenses top the list at $19.53 billion. Medical care also ranks high. But, pet owners also are dishing out dollars for luxuries such as massages, manicures, designer duds, travel gear and spa days. Hey, I’ve never had a spa day! Not unless you count the time I had my eyebrows arched and for one terrifying moment thought half of one was missing.
Don’t fret, my pet (just bear with me), it’s not all give and take. The APPA cites several health benefits of pet ownership. Among them:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.