5 Ways a Pet Can Improve Your Health

Our cuddly creatures can have a positive impact on our lives.

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5 Ways a Pet Can Improve Your Health

Am I a healthier person because my dog Kelly is in my life? Actually, yes!

I’ve lost 40 pounds, I’m off my blood pressure medication, and my cholesterol is lower too—in part, due to owning a dog.

Cats, dogs and other pets can all help. Here are five health benefits they can offer you:
 
1. Lower Blood Pressure
You love your pet with all your heart. Did you also know that owning a pet could be beneficial to your heart? According to studies by the American Heart Association, pet owners are more likely to have lower blood pressures than non-pet owners. 
 
2. Fewer Allergies
Sure, many people have allergies to pet fur and dander. But research conducted by James Gern at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has shown that children who grow up in a home with pets have a lower instance of allergies than those who don’t. So, it’s possible that owning a pet could actually help prevent your child from developing allergies.
 
3. Less Stress and Depression
Owning a pet can benefit our mental health too. The American Veterinary Medical Association cited studies that indicated people who own pets remain calmer in stressful situations. Caregivers also observe that pets can soothe Alzheimer’s patients, and seniors with pets are less likely to report depression as a symptom than those without pets. Of course, a pet misbehaving pet can cause stress, so be sure behavioral issues are resolved.
 
4. Improved Weight Loss
Simply owning a dog won’t make you skinny but—as with Kelly and me—it can encourage you to go out and take walks together, which may lead to weight loss and improved health.
 
5. Greater Happiness
Pets love you unconditionally. Not only can they reduce loneliness but they can make you happy. And we all know that happiness is good for your health!

Peggy Frezon, freelance writer and pet lover, has owned dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, hermit crabs, turtles and fish. Visit here twice monthly to read helpful tips on caring for your pets.

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