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8 Impressive Health Benefits of Pet Ownership
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Summary: Thinking about owning a pet? If you’re not sure whether it is right for you, learn about these 8 health benefits for pet owners.

For anyone who grew up with a pet or has one now, you know that no matter the extra effort and money involved, having a pet is always worth the trouble. Many people love their pets because they bring a smile to our face and give us a tremendous amount of unconditional love. While that’s all true, pets are also incredibly beneficial to our health, more so than most people realize. If you’re on the fence about taking the plunge and adding a four-legged creature to your family, here are eight impressive health benefits to owning a pet.

 

  
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  1. Stress relief. There’s a reason some universities and grad schools have programs that bring in pets during finals week. Simply being in the same room as a dog or cat can lower your cortisol levels, and even more so if you’re petting them.
  1. Improved physical fitness. If you’ve ever taken care of a friend or family member’s dog, then you’ve probably noticed a significant increase in your activity over the day simply by taking the animal out to use the restroom or taking them on a short walk. Owning a pet not only gets you up and moving more, but it can help you be more productive throughout the day since your energy is already up.
  1. Decrease chronic pain. Pets are shown to increase endorphin levels. Endorphins can be powerful pain relievers, which you may have noticed if you’ve ever experienced a runner’s high. In addition, caring for a pet can be a positive distraction from pain.
  1. Lower cholesterol. A survey by the Australian National Health Association showed that people, especially men, who own pets have lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels than non-pet owners.
  1. Lower blood pressure. Along the lines of lower stress and cholesterol, pets also significantly decrease blood pressure, according to a study at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
  1. Allergy prevention in children. A study published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy demonstrated that children exposed to pets when they were less than six months old were less likely to develop allergies later in life.
  1. Overall mental health. Pets not only give you unconditional love, but they also give you something to love and care for as well. Pets boost self-esteem, along with feelings of autonomy and confidence, making you feel more self-acceptance.
  1. Improve relationships. The Journal of Applied Developmental Science found that young adults with pets were better able connect to others and within their communities than those without pets. Pets can also be wonderful for families because they teach children kindness, respect, and responsibility.



 

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