Four Health Benefits of Owning Pets

By Nikki Shewmaker

Animals are amazing creatures. They are intelligent, caring and helpful with obvious benefits to their human counterparts.  Owning a pet is a big responsibility and many people who are not avid animal lovers are not willing to take on the challenge. However, new studies show that there are added health benefits to owning a pet, causing many prospective pet owners both young and old people to reconsider.

Social Boost – Pet owners are less likely to experience feelings of loneliness. Cats and dogs become companions, especially to people who live alone. Having a pet that needs to be cared for and is appreciative of the attention given by its owner, decreases the chances of feeling lonely. Not only that, but pets are great for meeting new people or increasing social time with acquaintances. Taking your dog to a local animal park or meeting up weekly with others who own the same kind of pet is a great way to make new connections.

Increase in Physical Activity – Pets need exercise and outdoor activities on a consistent basis. Pet owners get more exercise by taking their dogs for walks, to the park, or simply being outdoors and playing with them. This is an important factor, as many people do not get enough exercise. Owning a pet will increase your physical exertion without making it feel like a workout.

Better Immune Systems – A research study conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that households with dogs and cats (particularly ones with children) had stronger immune systems and family members were less likely to have asthma or allergies. This is great news for women with children who feared allergies might become a problem down the road when bringing a pet into the house.

Stress Relief – The Center for Disease Control found that pets have a tendency to lower stress in their owners. This means that pet owners often have lower cholesterol, triglyceride and blood pressure levels, all three of which contribute to a healthy heart and a decrease in the chance of a heart attack or other heart related illness. Stress relief isn’t limited to cats and dogs, either. Something as simple as installing a fish tank has been shown to relieve stress as well.

With summer here, keep in mind the added benefits of owning a cat or a dog, not only are these four legged furry friends fun to be around, but they help their owners physically, mentally and emotionally.


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