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.

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

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