There are a lot of great benefits of pets. On an emotional level, owning a pet can decrease depression, stress, and anxiety; from a health perspective, it can lower your blood pressure, strengthen your immune system, and even decrease your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Decrease stress and blood pressure
Research has found that hypertensive or high-risk patients’ blood pressures are lower when their pets are around. Another study found that people experienced less stress when their pets were with them than when a spouse, family member, or close friend was nearby. When a person connects with a pet by petting it, oxytocin, the hormone related to stress and anxiety relief, is released.
Help you socialize
Multiple studies have found that pet owners are more social than non–pet owners. There is typically more social interaction in neighborhoods with pets, which also makes these neighborhoods seem friendlier to observers. Even if you live alone, having a dog or cat has the same emotional benefit as that of a human friendship.
Build immunities in children
This one may sound counterintuitive, since many people might think cats and dogs cause allergies rather than prevent them. However, many studies have shown that having multiple pets actually decreases a child’s risk of developing certain allergies. Families that had children who were exposed to two or more dogs or cats as babies were less than half as likely to develop common allergies as children who had no pets in the home.
Boost your mood
Pets create endless entertainment, whether you have a comedian or a scaredy-cat on your hands. Pets offer unconditional love, but they also give their owners a sense of purpose. Smiling at your pet can raise your serotonin and dopamine levels, which are neurotransmitters associated with joy and happiness.
Help your heart health
Many pet owners would agree that a pet can fill your heart with love, but did you know that they can also do a lot more for that organ? Research has shown that pet owners exhibit decreased blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels—all of which can ultimately minimize a person’s risk for having a heart attack.
Detect medical conditions
Research has found that one-third of the pets—such as dogs, cats, birds, and rabbits—who live with people who have diabetes would change their behavior when their owner’s blood sugar level dropped. Other reports have indicated that canine friends have sniffed or licked a mole or lump on their owner’s body because they may have the ability to smell cancer.