The health benefits of having a furry friend

The health benefits of having a furry friend

If you’re contemplating pet ownership, then you’ve probably weighed the pros and cons of having a furry friend. But have you thought about the health benefits? Dogs are dubbed man’s best friend, and research shows that having a dog or a cat can have a positive impact on a person’s overall health.

Owning a pet decreases anxiety, stress and depression. Pet parents develop a deep emotional bond with their animal, and this positive psychological impact increases the levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, two chemicals that transmit positive emotions.

Although it seems contradictive, people who own pets have more opportunities to socialize, as pets are natural conversation starters. Pet owners are more likely to socialize with strangers while taking their dogs on a walk, and these brief social interactions can lead to more. In other words, your dog can be a friend magnet.

Another benefit to owning a pet is reduced allergies. New studies find that kids who grow up in households with animals have lower risks of asthma and allergies. In fact, kids who grow up with pets have stronger immune systems because of greater exposure to germs and dirt.

Finally, pet owners have reduced risk of heart attacks and lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Studies find people who own pets often live healthier lifestyles, due to the frequent exercise that pets require. One study found that cat owners were 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack, and having a pet helped patients live longer after having heart attacks than those who didn’t have one.

Consider these benefits when contemplating a new furry friend! It may just be the best decision you make for your health.

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