Dogs and cats can be more than ‘man’s best friend’ or just someone to keep you company when you’re alone. For over 25 years, studies have shown that people who are pet owners have overall increased health.
Pediatrician James Gern, MD of the University of Wisconsin- Madison found that kids who grow up in a home with pets develop a stronger immune system, especially when it comes to fighting off allergies and asthma.
According to Animal Planet, researchers at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) say that pet owners have decreased blood pressure and cholesterol. Both of which minimize the risk of a fatal heart attack. Simply petting a cat lowers blood pressure and in 4,500 people, owning a cat lowers heart attack risk by over 40 percent, according to care2.com.
Pets require exercise as well. Walking or running with pets can keep the owner and the pet active and make weight a lot more manageable.
Owning pets can be very positive for the elderly and people with serious illnesses. WebMD states that Alzheimer’s patients who own pets have fewer outbursts and less anxiety. Having a pet, cats or dogs in particular, require attention, care, and love. Most of all, a pet-owner relationship results in companionship. Pets can also be a sense of stability for people with emotional issues.
Another care2.com study showed that 55 percent of people surveyed felt relaxed after spending time with their pet and 44 percent were less worried about specific problems including job security and finances. One in six women said “they confided their deepest thoughts in only their dog,” and 25 percent of women said their dog was their best friend.
Having a pet reduces stress and anxiety and therefore protecting against cardiovascular disease. There have been reports of doctors prescribing “pet prescriptions” to patients suffering from serious illnesses like cancer. Sick people are motivated by pets to take better care of themselves knowing they have a responsibility to another being.
In addition to generally owning a pet, adopting an animal can benefit both the owner and the pet. Saving an animal by adoption will make the owner feel good by helping make a difference for the pet and the pet will benefit the owner by improving their mental and physical health.