I love my dogs and so does my husband, Eddie. Not so much cats … like my sister Eleanor and her husband, Michael. No matter what type of pet you like they can have a profound effect on your health.
Ways Pets Improve Your Health
It only takes a few minutes with a dog or cat or watching fish swim (did this a lot when I owned a tropical fish/marine fish store in another life) to feel calmer and less stressed. Your body goes through physical changes in that time that make a difference in your mood. The level of cortisol (stress hormone) lowers and serotonin (feel good neurotransmitter) increases.
Lower your BP
Having a pet can help you manage your blood pressure. In one research study, pet owners had lower blood pressure and heart rates during rest than people who did not have a pet.
Lower your cholesterol
If you also have a pet, there could be a cholesterol perk. People who have pets tend to have better levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, compared to people who don’t. The reason isn’t clear but it could have to do with a more active lifestyle that comes with having pets.
Help your heart
In a 20-year study, people who never owned a cat were 40% more likely to die of a heart attack than those who had. Another different study found that dog owners had a better survival rate one year after a heart attack. To sum it up, pet owners are less likely to die of any cardiac disease, including heart failure.
No one loves you more unconditionally than your pet. It could even help you deal with and recover from depression. Your pet will listen to you talk for as long as you want to talk. You’ll probably feel calmer when you pet a cat or dog. And when you take care of an animal — walk with it, groom it, play with it — takes you out of yourself and helps you feel better about the way you spend your time.