The health benefits of pet ownership

How do dogs make your life better? Let me count the ways.

We’ll be goofy and make you laugh on a daily basis. We will watch TV with you and won’t hog the remote. We will give you kisses, even if you haven’t showered in a few days. And get this…we also help you live longer. Boom! (Drop the mic)

On a serious note, studies show there are many health benefits of pet ownership – all the more reason to have a furry friend in your life.

Improves your heart health

Who needs a treadmill when you can simply get a dog? Research shows that dog owners get more exercise compared to non-dog owners.

According to a report from the American Heart Association, pet ownership – especially dog ownership – is associated with decreased cardiovascular disease risk. Researchers found that dog owners walked more and were 54 percent more likely to get the recommended level of physical activity. In addition, the people who walked their dogs had an obesity rate of 17 percent, whereas non-pet owners had an obesity rate of 22 percent.

Reduces depression

Dogs truly are man’s best friend – they will love you no matter what. It’s hard to find that kind of unconditional love and acceptance among people.

Certified Behaviorist Colleen Demling explains, “The 100% acceptance without judgment when a person is depressed, anxious, lonely, wearing the same clothes as yesterday and can’t get out of bed helps people feel like they have a true friend during their difficulties.”

Boosts your immunity

It’s a fact: people who have pets go to the doctor less.

According to a Wilkes University study, you can significantly increase your secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA) – a natural antibody against germs – by stroking a dog for only 18 minutes.

Another fun fact: did you know that homes with pets can reduce allergies in babies and children by up to 50 percent? These children are exposed to pet dander, which primes their still-developing immune systems and helps them fight back attacks from allergens, bacteria and viruses.

The secret to living a long, healthy and happy life? Get a dog.




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