Health Benefits of Having a Pet

Posted on by Carey Daniels


Are you looking for an excuse to add a little kitten or frisky puppy to the household? You should consider the health benefits for both old and young of adding a family pet. Reasons range from increasing social opportunities to relieving stress. Here are some of the top health benefits of owning a pet:

Decrease Chances of a Heart Attack
That’s right. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institute of Health (NIH), and the American Heart Association all state that pet owners are less likely to have a heart attack than non-pet owners. Their studies say these pet owners are more likely to have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol. And even if these pet friendly people have a heart attack, they usually have greater longevity than non-pet owners do.
Likely contributors to this heart health benefit are the exercise from walking a pet and the lower stress levels from time spent with your furry friend.

Avoid Allergies
Can pets really help a person avoid allergies? Well, yes, according to Dr. James E. Gern, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison who has done several studies on the subject. If children are exposed early in life to pets, the kids tend to have stronger immune systems and become much less likely to have allergies later on in life.
Sounds like a great reason to get a pet for the kids or the grandkids.

Meet New People
Having a pet can help you make new friends with similar interests. Dog parks, training classes, and outdoor restaurants are great places to meet other pet owners. Pets provide the perfect excuse to start up a low pressure conversation with someone you’ve never met.

Stay Trim
You can take your pet with you when you exercise, go running, ride your bike, or hike a local nature trail. Pets are wonderful motivators for their owners to stay moving. One study by the National Health Institute says the pet owner responsible for walking the dog has less of a chance of being obese compared to non-dog owners. Maybe today is a good day to volunteer to walk the dog!

Find an Emotional Uplift
Pets are man’s best friend, right. Pets love us unconditionally and their constant companionship can help keep us from feeling lonely. It’s proven that pets can help some people avoid depression.

Help the Aged
Having a pet can add meaning to our lives and as we get older and children leave the house, pets provide companionship and give us reasons to get out and exercise. We can feel more purpose in life to take care of the daily needs of an animal, especially if the pet is rescued from an animal shelter. Plus, having that extra friend in your life could possibly lead to less time at the doctor: One study says that persons over age 65 have 30% fewer doctor’s visits than those without pet. Now wouldn’t that be nice!

Pets are well known for providing stress relief and any pet will do. Your pet doesn’t have to be a cat or a dog to lower your stress. Even watching a fish swim around the tank, can be relaxing and help lower heart rate. A 2002 study from the State University of New York at Buffalo found that people, who had their pets with them while doing a stressful task, felt even less stressed than they did doing the same task with a family member instead.

Get Healthier, Get a Pet
Well, that’s 7 more reasons for getting a pet. Let’s get healthy!


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