The Health Benefits of Pets

Did you know that pets can improve both your physical and mental health? Some of you, who have pets, would readily agree that they do feel much better emotionally, having pets around, than they would if they didn't have any pets. However, have you really thought about or been aware of the many health benefits pets can have on your physical health? What do studies conducted on this subject indicate? Does having a pet contribute significantly to better health other than provide you the obvious pleasure of having a companion to love and care for, or is it just a health myth based on the subjective feeling of happiness one feels when one is around pets? Well, you'd be surprised at the results some of these studies have to offer on this question.

CDC for example says that owning a pet can reduce your blood pressure. That might not come as a surprise, as we do feel generally better having pets around. But, what might be surprising is the apparent heart-healthy benefits that pets are supposed to provide. Yes - you heard that right, heart-healthy benefits. Apparently, pet owners not only have significantly lower blood pressures than non-pet owners, but also have been shown to have lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. These studies also state that pet owners have relatively less cardiovascular risk factors and therefore a lesser chance of suffering a heart attack than non-pet owners because of the above benefits. It seems too good to be true and one might wonder as to why there is this such a profound health benefit to having pets. What follows below are some, not all, health benefits that pets can offer you.

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Why Have Pets - The Many Health Benefits of Having a Pet

Here are some reasons as to why pet owners seem to have a better quality of life and stand to gain significantly health-wise than non-pet owners:

Pets Make You More Active

For one, pets invariably make us more active than we otherwise would have been. Imagine idling your time away doing nothing at all, just sitting on the couch, watching TV and snacking on potentially unhealthy and fattening foods. That certainly won't do your heart any good - would it? A pet, like a dog, can give you a good workout and an active lifestyle, which can do wonders for your heart. You can get some exercise walking your dog or playing with your dog. Dogs are active animals and they transfer this active lifestyle to you as well, thus benefiting you immensely. Dogs make for excellent pets, especially for this reason.

Pets Are Good Stress Busters

Pets can greatly reduce the stresses in our lives and hence be good for your blood pressure and heart. How often have you returned home totally stressed out and drained from a difficult day at work and how often has a dog or cat greeted you at the door and made you forget all the problems at work and made you feel better. Less stress = a healthy heart and body. So, it helps to have a pet. Imagine all the stress that would add up day after day without any release - that would be the situation for non-pet owners. Especially, if you are single and living alone without a companion, someone to love, handling life's stresses can be overwhelming, especially for those prone to depression. A pet makes life seem easier than it is!

Pets Can Earn Your New Friends And Dates

Pets provide good socialization opportunities. Especially for the introvert and shy individual, but also for non-introverts, pets can become the talking point - during a walk with your dog for example. You may be stopped and approached by someone keen to know the breed of your dog or any tricks your dog may be exhibiting that they were attracted to. So, even without having to make the first move, you may end up becoming friends with lots of strangers, some of whom you may very well grow to love and date in the future. Having a pet, therefore, provides you much greater socialization opportunities than usual.

Pets Keep You Going

Last but not least, pets provide you unconditional companionship and love, without any expectations in terms of money or other material benefits that some real world friends may expect. We live in a world where people so-called friends are increasingly selfish and self-centered, always expecting things from us and sometimes backstabbing us. Pets offer us companionship and love free of charge and without any malice or hidden agendas. They offer you love and you love them for what they are. There is no danger of being unfriended or cut out. You can always count on your pet to be there for you when you need them, which certainly can't do your health any harm!

Worried About Your Kids Getting Allergies From Pets?

The conventional wisdom is that having pets is a bad idea with respect to allergies, especially if you have kids in your family, as they are more prone to developing allergies than adults. However, recent research by Dr. James E. Gern, a pediatrician at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, suggests that kids growing up with pets have a lesser risk of developing allergies and asthma. This is as a result of reduced allergic sensitization. Dr. Gern's research indicates that children growing up with pets, having exposure to allergens through early childhood, develop a stronger immune system than children who grow up in families that have no pets. So, if you are primarily worried about keeping pets worried about the potential impact it may have on your young kids in terms of allergies, then you don't have to fear on that count based on this study. However, if you have existing allergies to animals, then you do need to stay away from them.

In Conclusion

With all of the above benefits, it might be a good idea to consider having a pet, if you don't already have one. Choose a pet based on your particular situation and your particular lifestyle. I've always been against having birds as pets, mostly because I see caged birds as prisoners rather than being equal companions. I love cats and dogs in particular. I think they make the best pets, as they benefit equally from having your companionship as you do having them as your pets. There is no "owning" of the pet with them. You aren't imprisoning them. So, choose your pet wisely and look forward to a better and healthier life. With a pet, you'd always have a friend and companion to turn to and not feel alone ever!

© 2013 Shil1978

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