Not everyone has (or wants) a pet, but for people who own dogs, cats, or other creatures there can be big benefits. Sharing your home with a pet can bring you a lot of joy, laughter, and happiness, but it can also make you healthier and even help you live longer. Here are seven health reasons you might want to consider getting a pet, if you don’t have one already.
1) People who have pets have lower blood pressure
Studies have shown in many cases that walking your dog or petting your cat can help lower your blood pressure, and that people who have pets have lower blood pressure overall, as well as lower heart rates. That can provide some calming influence, along with a preventative measure against some of the issues that come along with high blood pressure. Keeping your blood pressure in check can be a good way to reduce your risk of heart attacks and strokes, along with other serious health problems.
2) Pets can improve your mood naturally
If you have a pet, you may not be as likely to need antidepressants or other types of mood boosting medications. Pets improve your mood more naturally than medications do, and can help you feel better on days when you would otherwise feel down, sad, or depressed. They aren’t a cure for serious depression, but they can help you move through some sad times in life more easily.
3) You have a lower risk of heart attacks and other cardiac problems
Pet owners have better heart health. With dogs this can be attributed to walking them and getting more exercise. With cats, it’s more about the calming influence they have when you pet them. Either way, it’s a winning situation for cardiac patients and anyone who may be at risk of heart problems. Even if you don’t have any current heart attack risk, your pet can help you keep it that way.
4) If you have a pet, you may be less isolated
Whether you walk your dog in the park or go into chat rooms to talk to other cat owners, having a pet can help keep you interacting with other people. That can make you feel less isolated, and people who don’t struggle with feelings of isolation generally have better health.
5) Pet owners generally have lower cholesterol
Spending time with your pet can help you keep your cholesterol in check. You often get more exercise when you have pets, and moving around more can mean that your cholesterol stays lower. Pet owners may also want to take better care of themselves, so they can be around to care for their pet.
6) Children who have pets have better immune systems and fewer allergies
When kids have pets, they are better able to build up naturally tolerances and immunities. That can help them all throughout their lives, because they don’t have as many sicknesses as children who didn’t have pets growing up. Of course this isn’t true for every child, but there is enough evidence to support the value of it for many children and their families.
7) A pet can help you stay calm, and that’s easier on your health
The calmer you stay, overall, the healthier you will be. Stress is very hard on the body, and while stressful events can be handled well by most people, the long-term stress that can come with difficult jobs and important obligations can take their toll on health. When you have a pet to spend time with, you reduce the chances of health problems due to the lower levels of stress. That’s a benefit you can get from the very first day your pet comes home, and it’s an important benefit for many people.