7 Benefits of Owning a Pet

It’s a scientific fact that there are physical and mental health benefits of owning a pet. We already know it feels good to be around furry friends, now there’s evidence to back it up. Here are some of the top health benefits of owning a pet.

 

1. Pets keep you active

benefits of owning a pet keeps you active

Any dog owner will tell you that having a dog means going for walks and getting lots of exercise. One Canadian study has shown that dog owners walk an average of 300 minutes a week compared to 168 minutes a week for non-dog owners. Don’t worry cat owners, a few play sessions per day are good for both you and your cat.

 

2. Pets prevent allergies in children

benefits of owning a pet helps reduce allergies

Research conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that children who grow up with a pet in the home are 33% less likely to have animal-related allergies than kids without pets. Early exposure to animals can strengthen a child’s immune system and make it less likely that they will suffer from pet allergies.

 

3. Pets improve cardiovascular health

benefits of owning a pet keeps you healthy

A study funded by the NIH looked at over 400 adults who had heart attacks. One year after their heart attacks, the people who owned dogs were significantly more likely to be alive than those who did not own dogs, regardless of how severe the heart attack was to begin with.

 

4. Pets make the teenage years easier

benefits of owning a pet by teenager

The Australian RSPCA reports that a study of teenage emotional well-being found that teenagers who have pets are more likely to have higher self-esteem than those who don’t. Teenagers with pets were also found to have a more positive outlook and be less lonely, sad, restless, and bored than those with no pets.

 

5. Pets reduce your stress

benefits of owning a pet at work

Owning a pet is a proven stress reducer. A study of a group of New York professionals with high blood pressure found that those who own pets ended up with lower blood pressure and heart rates than those who didn’t own a pet. In another study, researchers found that when given a stressful task, people experienced less stress when their pet was present than when a friend or family member was nearby.

 

6. Pets help kids with autism

challenged kids have benefits of owning a pet

Companion animals (regular pets as well as autism service dogs) have a positive effect on autistic children. The presence of a pet can make the kids calmer, more focused, and improve their social interactions with other people. Autistic children who previously didn’t speak will often begin talking to the pet, and then talking to other people about the animal as well.

 

7. Pets relieve depression and loneliness

benefits of owning a pet helps with lonliness

The benefits of owning a pet is great for people suffering from loneliness and depression. Pets are a comforting presence and provide a reason to get up in the morning. They love and accept us no matter how we’re feeling about ourselves. Research has shown that the simple act of stroking a cat or dog can release increased levels of the “happy chemicals” serotonin and dopamine in the brain.

 

Up Next: Pets Welcome Home Soldiers 

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  • Aaron Seminoff
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