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7 Reasons Pets Improve Your Health


When we get home from work or school and are greeted by a wagging tail or a loud purr, suddenly our stress goes away and we get a calming feeling. It’s not imaginary, it’s very real. Studies have proven our pets are good for both mental and physical health.

Experts tell us that pets are always there for us and give us unconditional love and they accept us totally. That bond between you and your pets, as well as the companionship they provide us, plays a huge part in our mental well-being. Plus our pets get us out to exercise when we take them for a walk or play with them. Here are several more interesting facts of how our pets increase our well-being.


7. Pets can lower a person’s cholesterol

Experts tell us that if we own a dog, going on daily walks with them will help keep our cholesterol levels down. Surveys by the Australian National Heart Foundation showed that pet owners, particularly men, are inclined to have lower levels of both triglycerides and cholesterol levels.


6. Pets help us get rid of stress

Just being in the same space as a pet helps to make us calmer. Studies have shown that when we are with our pets, our bodies release oxytocin, which is a strong neurochemical that produces happy feelings. It also causes a marked lessening of the bad stress hormone cortisol. For instance, one study showed just how powerful this can be when it comes to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. In one case a male veteran wasn’t able to leave his house unless his wife came with him. But then he was given a dog and after a few days, he could go around where he lived without his wife.


5. Pets can help lower our blood pressure

It’s a winning scenario. When you pet your dog or cat, your blood pressure comes down, plus it makes your pet feel good too. Studies done at the State University of New York at Buffalo found that with folks who take blood pressure medication, their blood pressure’s reaction to stress went down by half when they had a dog or cat.


4. Pets improve our fitness levels

Dogs are even better than friends when it comes to going on a walk, according to a study done at the University of Maryland. The study showed people who walked dogs showed improvements in their fitness levels better than folks walking with other folks. Another study showed people who had dogs tended to walk an average of 300 minutes every week, while non-dog owners only walked 168 minutes. Research published in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health revealed dog owners not only walked more than those who didn’t have a dog, but they also were 54 percent more often found to meet recommended fitness levels for physical activity.

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3. Pets lower the risk of cardiovascular disease

The American Heart Association did several studies on pet ownership and how it affects cardiovascular disease. It showed the risk of it was much less in pet owners, especially dog owners. That’s due to pets helping to lower not just cholesterol, but also lower stress and our blood pressure while increasing our fitness level. The studies also showed that having a pet lengthened the person’s life while protecting them with a lower risk of cardiovascular issues.


2. Pets could avert children’s allergies

Did you have a pet while growing up? If so, that may have given you an advantage when it comes to allergies. Research printed in Clinical & Experimental Allergy showed kids who were around pets prior to turning six months old tended to have fewer allergies, along with fewer problems like eczema, asthma, or hay fever when they were older, as well as less upper respiratory illnesses. It suggests that if you expose young children to things like allergens and dander they might react to them less in the long run. Plus children growing up near both farm animals and household pets such as a cat or dog have been shown to have a stronger immune system, as well as less of a chance of getting eczema or asthma.


1. Pets alleviate depression

Pets give their owners social support, so that in turn provides improved general well-being more so than those with no pets, says a study printed in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The British Psychological Society studied the results of several research studies and discovered dog owners, in particular, had better psychological and therapeutic well-being. The dog owners also had stronger feelings of competence and autonomy. This showed that social bonding via our pets, as well as the way they make us feel calm, can at times be quite powerful. That is due to the fact our pets provide us something else to concentrate on besides negative thinking such as people suffering from depression tend to go through. Pets give us unconditional acceptance and love!


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