5 Ways Pets Positively Impact Your Health

#1 Pets Help You Relieve Stress! Petting your animal friend can lower your blood pressure, release feel-good hormones like serotonin and oxytocin and lower the stress hormone cortisol.

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#2 Healthier Heart. Harvard Health reports that having a dog will decrease your risk of heart disease.  Evidence suggests that pet owners have, lower cholesterol, triglycerides and less cardiovascular reactivity to stressors than non-owners. Dog owners are less sedentary than those who do not own dogs. Taking your pet for a walk, run or hike will help keep you and your friend healthy. Even if you don’t take your pet for a walk every day just the daily task of taking care of them will elevate activity level. A study in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health found that not only did dog owners walk more than non-owners, they were also 54% more likely to meet the recommended levels of physical activity.

#3 Better Relationships and Social Life. Having a pet makes you more social and feel less isolated. You will be likely to set up pet play dates, take your furry friend to a park, or join a pet group. Young adults with a deep bond to their pets felt more connected in their relationships and to their communities than those who did not have animals noted a study published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Science. Those people were also more likely to take on leadership roles and tend to be more confident and empathetic. 

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 #4 Reduce Likelihood of Allergies in Kids. In a study published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy, children who were exposed to pets before they were six months old were less likely to develop allergic diseases, hay fever, and eczema as they got older.  Babies who have dogs in their house are more likely to not have allergies, asthma and fewer upper respiratory infections. And kids who grow up around farm animals, dogs, or cats typically have stronger immune systems and a reduced risk of developing asthma or eczema.

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#5 Detect Health Issues. Pets are very sensitive to their owners’ behavior, which can be helpful for those who suffer from diabetes, seizures, migraines, and narcolepsy. For example, some animals can sense low blood sugar levels before their owners can. “When diabetics get low blood sugar they get ketoacidosis (when they can’t use sugar as a fuel source), which changes the smell of their breath, and trained dogs can pick up on that scent change,” explains Christopher Buckley, director of veterinary medicine at the Humane Society of West Michigan in Kalamazoo. Pet dogs have even been known to sniff out a variety of cancers like melanoma, bladder and breast cancer.


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