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5 Health Benefits of Having a Pet

The benefits of owning a pet go beyond having a furry friend to snuggle up with. If your family includes a dog or a cat, you could be enjoying several emotional and physical advantages.

Here are five healthy perks of having a pet:

1. Go on, get happy

Pets are excellent mood boosters; they reduce everyday stress and relax their owners. After a rough day, the negativity can melt away when you come home to a dog wagging her tail or a cat purring while he brushes up against you. Much like a therapy animal in a hospital, your pet can calm you and bring a smile to your face. Pets can help you keep a positive outlook and combat depression.

2. Man’s (and woman’s) best friend

The companionship a pet brings can improve emotional health. Pets provide unwavering loyalty and great company. A pet can be a reliable companion to with which to watch television, someone to hug when you have good news, not to mention a source of unconditional love. Pet ownership can also offer a sense of purpose, brightening your life because you know you’re needed.

3. Adorable and approachable

Man’s best friend can be an instant ice breaker, helping you meet new friends. Consider owners at a dog park — they’re more likely to engage with other pet owners: What’s the breed? How old? Do you have a favorite pet-friendly café? There’s a common bond that’s shared between people caring for animals. Owning a pet may give you more to talk about when another pet owner stops to say “hello” to you and yours.

4. Pets as personal trainers

Your dog’s energy is great inspiration to exercise. Dogs require lots of activity. Whether you take yours for a walk or to the park to run around, their exercise can go hand-in-paw with yours. There are activities you can do together such as running, biking, agility training, or doga — dog yoga. People with pets are far more likely to reach daily exercise requirements when compared to people without pets. Even more sedentary pets can keep you active through feeding, playing and routine cleaning.

5. Good to love, good for the heart

Could your kitty help your heart? Maybe! People with pets have lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride counts than people without pets. For those who’ve had a heart attack, owning a pet can even speed the recovery process and lead to a longer life. Even little ones benefit from pets — studies have found that babies born to households with pets develop stronger immune systems and experience fewer allergies later in life.