Health Benefits of Owning a Pet

There are many good things about being a pet owner.  Our pets provide companionship and love but they may also improve our health.  Research has shown many different benefits.

Reduced allergies

Child cuddling tabby catA number of studies have shown that children growing up in pet-owning households have a lower incidence of allergies such as eczema and asthma.

The beneficial effect on the immune system goes further.  Some studies have shown that babies in pet-owning households suffer from fewer colds.

Lower blood pressure

Many studies have shown that stroking a pet reduces your blood pressure.  It also often has an effect on the pet’s blood pressure as well!  Lower blood pressure reduces your risk of heart disease and strokes.

Some research has shown that being around your pet dog has a greater effect on blood pressure than being around a human loved-one.

Reduced risk of heart disease and stroke

Woman and dog walking in woodlandOwning a dog has been shown to decrease your cholesterol level, although this may be contributed to a more active lifestyle, rather than simply owning a dog.

Even owning a cat can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by around a third, and owning a pet makes you more likely to survive a heart attack.

Reduced anxiety and depression

Owning a pet gives you someone non-judgemental to talk to which can help in cases of depression.  It can also give you something to get out of bed for in the morning as your pet still needs caring for.

Taking a dog for a walk encourages people to socialise, talking to other dog owners, and this social interaction is really important for our mental health.

Health concern detection

Some animals improve their owner’s health in a more direct way.  Some dogs, in particular, can pick up signs of cancer, low blood sugar level in diabetics and can detect a seizure before it starts.

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