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Top 5 Health Benefits of Having a Pet

Owning a pet can positively impact both your physical and mental health.

We all want our pets to live the best lives possible, but besides providing you with bedtime purr sessions and slobbery kisses, have you ever stopped to think about what your fur babies do for your health?

Take a look at the ways Fido and Fluffy improve your overall well-being every day.

1. Fitness

If you’ve been looking for a new exercise routine, look no further than your four-legged friend. Dogs (and cats!) need regular low-impact exercise to keep them in shape. As an owner, this means you get to regularly accompany them on walks, hikes and park adventures.

Dog owners walk an average 22 minutes more per day, according to a study from BMC Public Health. In addition to our own daily workout regimens, pet owners spend extra time exercising their pets; this means double the workouts!

2. Anxiety Relief

There is a good reason therapy animals are so effective. Pets are able to recognize signs of panic attacks, reduce stress and lessen pain. Those of us who suffer from depression can form a special bond with animals, which in turn helps heal trauma, provide motivation and create healthy companionships. It’s important to keep our mental health in check and having your furry friend by your side can reap many emotional benefits.

3. Social Life

Whether you’re on a walk or at the pet store, chances are someone will stop to gush about how adorable your pet is. Cats and dogs can be great icebreakers while you’re out and about, especially when the people you meet are pet lovers too!

You’re more inclined to start a conversation with a stranger when you get to talk about your favorite subject–your pet! In the 2015 study The Pet Factor, over 80 percent of the participants said “they had got to know people in their neighborhood whom they didn’t know previously” just by going outside with their pets. More years, more life…more friends!

4. Heart Health

Your feline companions are cardiologists in disguise! Studies suggest that cats decrease our risks of stroke, heart disease and lower blood pressure. Research performed by the University of Minnesota’s Stroke Institute in Minneapolis showed that non-cat owners are 30 to 40 percent more likely to die of cardiovascular concerns. Many scientists attribute these findings to cats calm nature, low-maintenance care and ability to lower our stress levels simply by being their furry selves.

5. Allergies

Old wives’ tales have led us to believe that surrounding ourselves with pets would increase our allergies, but contrary to popular belief, early exposure to pets can actually help boost immunity and prevent allergy-related symptoms. A study by Clinical and Experimental Allergy showed that children exposed to pets within the first year of life were less likely to have allergies and asthma problems as adults.

Blog Post Written By:
Jasmine Kemper
JustFoodForDogs Nutrition Consultant