Can your pet really help improve your health? Many experts think so. In many cases, pet owners are much healthier and have lower risks than those who do not have a pet at all. Here are a few of the ways pets are beneficial for your health.

Stronger Heart

Having a dog can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Why? Dog owners are likely to have lower blood pressure than non-dog owners partly due to the fact that they walk more. In fact, dog owners in particular typically have a healthier cardiovascular system as well as lower cholesterol. People who own pets usually live longer than people who do not, even if they do have heart problems.

Reduce Stress

Simply petting a pet can feel good and actually help lower your blood pressure. Scientifically, when you pet a cat or dog your body releases a relaxation hormone which reduces the levels of stress hormones. Some experts state that just looking at your pet can bring feelings of joy and release the neurochemical, oxytocin. Veterans diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) are sometimes assigned dogs to help relieve stress.

Improve Mental Health

Having a pet around can help improve one’s overall mood and give them more meaning for living. Most of the time, people who have pets are not as lonely as those without pets and typically they do not visit the doctor as often for minor concerns. A pet can help give you a sense of belonging and help you feel like you have more control over your life. In these ways, pets can help people manage and beat depression more effectively. Dogs can help provide emotional support and companionship for their owners.

Improve Your Social Life

Pets, and dogs in particular, can help you connect more easily with other people. It’s pretty easy to strike up a conversation with a person walking a dog. People who are in wheelchairs also state that most of the time other people will make better eye contact with them and offer to help more frequently if they have their service animal with them.

Walking your dog is also a great reason to get you out of the house every day. By getting out, you are more likely to meet new people and socialize more frequently. Some studies have also shown that if you have a dog you simply appear friendlier and more likable. Many pet owners feel safer when they have a dog with them and are more likely to take daily walks than those who do not own pets.

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