man and his dog looking away from the camera, health benefits of owning pets.

Historically, relationships with animals have been fundamental to human existence.  They provide us with labor, protection, food, clothes and, as we’re learning more and more, they also provide us with impressive health benefits.  Scientists are just starting to learn of the many medical, social and physiological benefits companionship with animals can bring us.  Here are the top five health benefits of owning pets.  

  1. Weight Loss through Exercise

Dogs love initiating activity and people that own dogs are more likely to get out and exercise.  Because obesity is a risk factor for many major health problems, such as diabetes, staying lean by walking your pets regularly can help prevent these diseases.  

  1. Less Childhood Allergies

The ‘Hygiene Hypothesis’ suggests early childhood exposure to animals can help mature a child’s immune system, giving them a better ability to tolerate allergens.  Children born into homes with two or more dogs have been shown to have less allergies and problems with asthma.  

  1. Reduction in Levels of Anxiety and Stress

Studies consistently show that pet ownership can lower stress and anxiety.  Animals offer a non-judgmental support system that can help owners handle daily stressors.  Even the act of petting a cat has been shown to cause the release of neurochemicals associated with relaxation.  

  1. Improved Cardiovascular Health

Significant studies have demonstrated pet ownership can decrease blood pressure, and when combined with the reduction in stress levels and increased physical activity, owning a pet can have a positive impact on cardiovascular health.  

  1. Better Social Life

The more social circles a person has in life is correlated to their overall happiness and health.  Try walking a dog without at least one or two people coming to say hello!  Dogs are a great conversation starter, and can help people build friendships as well.

Watch the video five health benefits of owning pets:

(Article was originally published on October 15, 2016)

 

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