Many of us are pet owners simply because we love animals, but our furry friends also come with a number of health benefits for their owners. From health to happiness, here are five ways our pets help make our lives a little better.
- A Healthier Heart. Dog owners tend to walk more and have lower body weight and lower blood pressure than individuals without dogs, both of which contribute to a stronger heart. Pet owners with existing heart conditions also tend to live longer than those without pets.
- Stress Management. Beyond putting a smile on your face and enhancing overall happiness, petting dogs or cats can reduce stress, induce relaxation and lower blood pressure.
- Immune System Booster. It may seem counter-intuitive that owning a pet would decrease a person’s risk to allergies, but children who have pets in the home tend to develop stronger immune systems and lower their risk of developing related allergies by almost 35 percent.
- Social Stimulant. Pets, especially dogs, can make it easier to meet new people and develop friendships. Social interaction contributes to increased longevity. Try going to a dog park, outdoor cafes that are pet-friendly or enrolling in a training class.
- Sense of Purpose. In addition to having a loyal companion, owning a pet can give individuals a sense of purpose, which can contribute to overall happiness and increased longevity.