Lifestyle | 1 Min Read

The pep in our step we get from our pets

Dogs are called man's best friend for a reason. These beloved four-legged family members put a smile on our face, help keep us active and teach us lessons in love, compassion and responsibility.

And it's not just that bright, cheery feeling we get when we see them that confirms our dogs make us happy. Scientific evidence actually validates that our furry and non-furry friends make us physically and mentally healthier.

Research shows that having a pet helps humans live longer, happier and healthier lives. From helping pet parents lose weight and lower blood pressure, to improving mental health by reducing stress and depression, here are some of the great potential benefits to owning a pet. 

Out, about and connecting

Hitting the bricks (or the beach, trail or park) with your pooch can be a source of easy, enjoyable exercise that's great for your physical health. Getting in those daily dog-walking steps can help prevent obesity and lower cholesterol, with the added bonus of getting you away from the screen for a bit.

But wait, there's more! Interactions with fellow owners or people you meet on your way can boost your mental health, too. This is especially true if you live alone or otherwise feel isolated. 

Even when you're not on foot, connecting with like-minded pet owners on social media and online forums can provide a sense of belonging – just without the added plus of exercise.

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Heart smart

Scientific studies have also shown that owning a pet can improve your blood pressure, as pet parents have lower resting blood pressure measurements than people without pets. And, according to researchers, owning a dog or cat can reduce the risk of death due to cardiovascular diseases by nearly one-third for their owners.  

Aiding the elderly

Pets can offer particular social and emotional support for older adults. The potential for physical activity can be especially helpful for the elderly. Pets keep their elderly owners occupied, they provide them with a sense of calmness and can be a great shield against loneliness and depression.

Don't forget the kiddos

Along with putting a smile on the little ones' faces and helping them learn about responsibility, empathy and selflessness, pets can also help decrease allergies. Studies show children who grow up in homes with pets are likely to have a stronger immune system and are less likely to develop childhood allergies and asthma.

Do you think your pet has improved your health? We'd love to hear about it! Let us know how they've done so in the comments below.