Health Benefits Courtesy of Your Pet

Who doesn’t think their Fluffy is the cat’s meow, or their Fido is doggone delightful? These days, many of us hold our pets in the highest esteem, considering them more than just an animal, but a part of our family. Yes, they bring us unconditional love, provide companionship and fill our lives with joy, but did you realize they also bring us health benefits? That’s right, your precious four-legged family member is just what the doctor ordered!

If your pooch is like most, just the sight of his leash fills him with excitement. Well, you should share in that excitement knowing he is improving your overall fitness with every step the two of you take. Studies find people with pets have more opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities, and their cholesterol and triglyceride levels tend to be lower. These factors contribute to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease and other heart-related health issues for pet parents.

You’ve heard of people having pet allergies, but did you know having a pet can also reduce allergies? Children raised in a home with pets are less likely to develop pet-related allergies, which may contribute to lessened sensitivity to other allergens such as dust, grass and ragweed.

Depression affects more than 350 million people of all ages worldwide. Many studies have found having a cuddly companion can help lower your risk of developing depression, since they are also known to help reduce stress, and they help their pet parents feel less isolated and lonely. Health experts agree, a furry sidekick can have very positive psychological effects.

Pets help reduce stress, you say? The next time you’re feeling a bit frenzied, spend time with your pet. It is proven petting a dog or cat can help lower blood pressure. And, it’s been found pet parents cope better with stressful events and recover more quickly from stressful situations when with their pet, even more so than when they’re with a friend or spouse.

Not quite the social butterfly? Pets help their humans socialize, providing ample opportunity to make new friends. How many of us have struck up a conversation with a stranger while visiting the dog park, or made a new friend in the waiting room at the vet’s office? You can thank Fido and Fluffy for that! Studies have linked an increased number of social relationships to longer life spans and a reduced risk for physical and mental declines during your golden years.

While these findings have been discovered via medical studies, it’s difficult to determine just how much your furry friend comes into play with these health benefits, as there are other factors to consider. But rest assured knowing your pet does have a positive impact on your well-being and thank him for it with plenty of love and cuddles every day!

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