Are Pets Really Good for Our Health?

images of dogs, cats, and gerbils

An estimated 68% of U.S. households have a pet.  Scientists are looking at what the potential physical and mental health benefits are for different animals and the research is relatively new.  However, are pets really good for our health?

images of dogs, cats, and gerbils

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are many health benefits of owning a pet.  However, before adopting a new pet, make sure that it is the right one for you and your family.  With that being said, below are healthy reasons for becoming a pet owner.

Heart Health

In May 2013, the American Heart Association (AMA) released a scientific statement associating pet ownership with reduced heart disease risk factors and greater longevity.  However, the research leans specifically toward dog owners.

Increased Activity

Owning a dog keeps you active.  Walking your dog can help you meet your daily exercise requirements and is good for relieving stress.  That extra exercise may be why pet owners tend to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Reduce Stress & Better Self Esteem

grandfather walking his dog on leash with grandson at park

Owning a pet decreases your feelings of loneliness.  A study from Tufts University found that young adults with a strong attachment to cats and dogs also reported feeling more connected to their relationships and communities.  In addition, taking your dog to the park or around the block for a walk leads to more conversations with dog owners, neighbors, etc. and helps you stay socially connected.

Protection Against Allergies

This might sound silly, but owning a pet really does protect you against allergies.  Studies have shown that being exposed to pet dander early on in life can help prevent future allergies.  Other studies have even shown that early cat exposure reduces the development of allergies later in life.

What are some of the ways that pets benefit your health?  I’d love to hear from you at hello@heartandsoulblog.com.  And don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter below to receive more informative blog posts straight to your inbox.

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