UPDATED: Mar 26, 2020
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If you have a pet, then you already know the happiness man’s best friend can add to your life. You know that they are full of joy and love you unconditionally. You know how quickly they can put a smile on your face even after a hard day. But did you know your pet can increase your lifespan?
Numerous studies have shown that pet owners live longer and enjoy better overall health. Just petting a dog or cat begins to relieve stress levels in the human almost immediately. This action decreases stress hormones, which have negative impacts on the body, and increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are nerve transmitters that have pleasurable and calming properties.
Pet owners exercise significantly more than non-pet owners. This is both because they want their pet to get the exercise and because people are more likely to enjoy a walk when they have company. Any activity is bound to improve your overall health.
First of all, it is virtually impossible to be upset when a cat curls up in your lap, or a dog nudges you for affection. Not only that but looking after a pet gives you a sense of purpose. Caring for your dog or cat requires work and helps keep you active and involved in life. For these reasons, pet owners are less likely to suffer depression, anxiety or loneliness than nonpet owners.
A growing number of studies have suggested that kids growing up in a home with pets will have less risk of allergies and asthma. Infants who live with pets are less likely to have allergies and eczema, a common allergy skin condition that causes red patches and itching. They are also more like to have higher levels of some immune system chemicals which are a sign of stronger immune system activation.
Owning a pet significantly reduces levels of cholesterol and blood triglyceride (two factors believed to influence heart disease). This fact, combined with the reduction in blood pressure from being with a pet, may make pet owners less prone to heart attacks than non-pet owners. Being a pet owner has proven to help the chances of survival from a heart attack. Statistically, people with pets have a much better chance of surviving for more than a year after a heart attack. It turns out having a cat, or a dog further motivates people to stick around.
Pet ownership can benefit anyone, but it seems especially true for senior citizens. Many elderly folks live alone or don’t get out much. A pet provides a lot of company for these people and makes them feel less alone and isolated. This is one reason pet therapy has become so popular in nursing homes.
Owning a pet can help reduce stress and keep you calm, lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, motivate you, lift your spirits and improve your overall health. The long-term health benefits of pet ownership may also help you outlive your term life insurance policy!
How has owning a pet improved your life?