Pets Encourage Physical Activity
It’s a given that having a pet can take you out of a sedentary lifestyle and encourage you to get out of the house. Dogs need to go outside for walks. Cats need exercise and playtime.
Pets Encourage Social Interaction
Pets are social magnets. Imagine taking a walk on a crowded city street. No one talks to you or even seems to notice your presence. Now imagine taking an adorable puppy down that same street. You’ll get more people making comments, asking you questions, or stopping to talk to you than you ever would if you were walking alone.
Pets Reduce Stress
Just by touching our pets we feel a surge of prolactin and oxytocin, hormones that can help us feel better. These same hormones can lower blood pressure and reduce stress. Having a pet can elevate serotonin and dopamine — hormones that lift depression — as well. Our animals often know when we need them, too. Pets tend to draw near when you’re feeling blue to provide emotional support.
Pets Improve Health
If you have a dog, you’re five times more likely to be alive a year after a heart attack. If you have a cat, you’re 40 percent less likely to suffer from a heart attack or stroke in the first place. Pets lower cholesterol, they mitigate migraines, and they act as health monitors for Parkinson’s disease and diabetic seizures. Research has even begun on some dogs who have the amazing ability to detect cancer.
Simply put, our companion dogs and cats help us live healthier, happier lives. They provide unconditional love and ask for relatively little in return.