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Can Pet Ownership Benefit Your Health?

Looking for a way to improve your health without paying for an expensive gym membership or adopting a restrictive diet? Try adopting a pet! Indeed, it turns out that owning a pet - whether it's a dog, cat or other furry friend - brings many exciting health benefits to the table. That's true regardless of your age, gender or general lifestyle habits. So, what kinds of health benefits will you enjoy by being a pet owner? They include:

  • Lower Blood Pressure - The CDC reports that owning a pet can help to lower blood pressure. That's especially true among people who are at high risk of having high blood pressure or who are already hypertensive. Chances are that it's the unconditional love that's provided by pets that makes this happen.

  • Boost Immunity and Ward Off Allergies - If you have kids or are planning to, do them a favor and adopt a pet or two. A study focusing on children between the ages of five and seven shows that they attend three full weeks more of school per year than their non-pet-owning counterparts. Also, the earlier pets come into a child's life, the less likely they are to develop allergies. It appears that pet dander, which most people want to avoid, may act as an effective immune system booster.

  • Monitor Diabetes - If you're diabetic, your pet may help alert you when your blood sugar drops. According to the American Diabetes Association, a 1992 study showed that one-third of pets act differently when their owners' blood sugar levels drop.

  • Prevent Stroke - Studies have shown that owning a cat reduces the risk of heart attack by about 30 percent, and it reduces the risk of strokes and other cardiovascular events by 40 percent.

  • Lower Cholesterol - It's also been shown that people who own pets tend to have lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. That's especially true about men, but women benefit as well.

Additional Benefits of Owning a Pet

As if those perks aren't exciting enough, owning a pet can help make you happier in general. Playing with a pet elevates levels of mood-enhancing chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, and pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression. Owning a pet also helps improve your overall lifestyle by increasing the amount of exercise you get, helping you meet new people and helping to establish structure and routine. If you don't already own a pet, consider adopting one. If you do, be sure to thank your furry friend for making you a healthier, happier person.

The content on this page is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute professional medical advice. Patients should not use the information presented on this page for diagnosing a health-related issue or disease. Before taking any medication or supplements, patients should always consult a physician or qualified healthcare professional for medical advice or information about whether a drug is safe, appropriate or effective.