20 Ways Your Pet Affects Your Health

Studies have shown that pet owners enjoy a wide variety of health benefits. In fact, a study at Cambridge University found that owning a pet produced improvements in general health in as little as one month. This effect continued over the 10-month study and pet owners were found to have fewer sick days and suffer with fewer problems like headaches, colds and hay fever.

Some cynics wonder how pets can have such health effects on people.

Experts point out that dogs and cats, maybe more than other pets, have evolved to become acutely attuned to humans and our behavior and emotions. While dogs and some cats are able to understand many of the words we use, they’re even better at interpreting our tone of voice, body language, and gestures. And like any good human friend, a loyal dog or cat will look into your eyes to gauge your emotional state and try to understand what you’re thinking and feeling (and to work out when the next walk or treat might be coming, of course).

The stats prove it! Pets have potent (and sometimes fascinating) powers. Powers like…

Owning a Pet Gives You a Healthier Heart and Lower Blood Pressure

The American Heart Association has linked pet ownership — especially dog ownership — with a reduced risk for heart disease and greater longevity. Researchers have shown that people with a dog or cat had noticeably lower resting heart rates and blood pressure than non-pet owners. People with cats are 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack, and 40 percent less likely to have a cardiovascular incident like a stroke.

foaloce / Shutterstock.com
foaloce / Shutterstock.com

Pet Ownership Lowers Your Cholesterol

According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) another heart-healthy result of owning a pet is lower cholesterol. People who own pets (particularly men) have significantly lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels than those who don’t have pets.

Sarah Newton / Shutterstock.com
Sarah Newton / Shutterstock.com

Having a Pet Around Reduces Stress

A research study of 240 couples showed that—when conducting a stressful task—people who had a pet with them had less stress than when a spouse or a family member was with them.

cynoclub / Shutterstock.com
cynoclub / Shutterstock.com
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