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Benefits of Owning a Pet
If you own a pet, you’re well aware of all the ways they enrich your life—but you might not be aware of all the health benefits that come with owning a pet. From reducing stress and making new friends to exercising more, owning a pet could be just what the doctor ordered.
Studies show that pet owners have lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, minimizing the risk of having a heart attack. And for people who’ve already had a heart attack, pet owners have better recovery rates—all by having a furry friend around to lower stress levels.
There’s some solid science behind how pets decrease stress and anxiety. Spending time with a pet increases the brain’s production of serotonin, a chemical that boosts feelings of well-being, while decreasing production of the depression and anxiety chemical, cortisol. Many airports even use pets to calm anxious passengers, including Denver International Airport, and some hospitals and nursing homes bring pets in to improve the mood of patients.
Children benefit from having pets in the home too. Beyond the joy and bonding a pet brings to a child’s life, having a pet in the home can actually lower a child’s likelihood of developing pet-related allergies by as much as 33 percent. In fact, children who have pets around early in life tend to develop stronger immune systems overall. And for adults, owning a dog promotes healthy exercise and can help improve social interaction—not only are pets a great icebreaker, but they’re a common denominator in conversations with new people.