Health benefits of having a pet

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A pet can become your best friend
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You may be surprised about the health benefits of having a pet

Pets are often looked at as companions, but did you know they are also good for your health? That's right, your cute and cuddly dog, cat, bird, lizard or whatever animal friend you have can actually improve your health. The health benefits of having a pet vary, but every type of non-human friend all benefit your emotional well-being, as well as your body.


Just about no one wants to be alone. Loneliness can cause some to go into depression, which can cause physical, as well as emotional, pain. Loneliness can also trigger anxiety and fear, and neither are good for you.

When you have an animal by your side, however, your feelings of loneliness and despair can decrease, or even go away entirely. A pet can fill in that hole simply by being there and sitting or laying down next to you.

You can talk to your animal and even provide massages. This physical and emotional contact can improve your quality of life and send that loneliness away. Even brushing your pet is therapeutic. Working out those tangles and keeping your friend looking good provides exercise for you and is excellent bonding time.

Having a pet rely on you can also make you feel important. Knowing that your animal needs you to come home and take care of it can give you a sense of purpose, which may improve self-esteem and even quell suicidal feelings.

Pets can also cause you to become more social and even help you pick up dates. Visiting a dog park can put you in touch with those who have the same interests as you, which can improve your chances of gaining a new friend or romantic interest.

Everyone needs a friend, and an animal is a mighty good friend to have.

Prevent Heart Disease

Animals are known for tugging at heartstrings, but they are actually good for your heart, as well. They do this by reducing the amount of stress in your life. When you're stressed out, your body produces harmful chemicals, such as cortisol and norepinephrin. Excess amounts of these chemicals coursing through your body can actually cause plaque to form in your heart, which typically leads to disease.

Having a pet, however, can help your body react better to these situations, and cause it not to produce as much of these chemicals. Additionally, petting and taking care of an animal produces the chemicals serotonin and dopamine, which make you feel good and improve the quality of your health.

Those who have experienced heart attacks in the past also benefit from having pets in their lives. According to, those who have suffered from heart attacks in the past and have pets, typically live longer than those without animals.

Prevent Allergies

It may sound like the opposite of what you would think, but animals can actually prevent allergies and asthma in children. Common logic would probably tell you that being around all that hair and dander could cause your child's immune system to go into overdrive, causing an allergic reaction and possibly even breathing issues.

However, the medical world says the opposite. Babies who are exposed to animals often have stronger immune systems than those who don't. This is because animals are pretty dirty creatures. Bringing in dirt and other unsavory substances into your home builds up your child's immune system, which helps it fight allergies and other health conditions.

Therefore, think again before you consider getting rid of your pet when you have a baby on the way. All that extra dirt and hair can actually make your tyke healthier.

It's hard to imagine that just by owning a pet you can improve your health, but it's true. Go ahead and purchase one to see the health benefits of having a pet for yourself.


WebMD: Five Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health

CDC: Health Benefits of Pets

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