We love our pets. T ey provide much support and joy in our daily lives. Th e old adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor way,” also applies to our pets and the health benefits they offer.

124Having a pet can significantly REDUCE STRESS AND INCREASE SELF-ESTEEM. They offer a 24/7 emotional support system as pets innately know when we need their support. Pets add to feelings of belonging and off er a boost in self-esteem. A study by the American Journal of Cardiology shows pet owners have hearts that adapted to stressors much better than those who did not have a pet in the family.

Pets are GOOD FOR YOUR HEART. American Heart Association studies have shown having a pet improves reduction in cardiovascular disease, with some studies indicating pets can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Data also supports that pets increase chances of surviving a heart attack. Pets can be instrumental in expediting recovery for those suffering from a major illness. Data aside, there are countless stories of the amazing impact a pet has on the physical, spiritual and emotional well-being of the owner struggling with health issues.

Having a pet family member may improve ALLERGIES. At one time pets were seen as a contributor to allergies, but studies now show that having a pet in the home, particularly for young children, actually improves the child’s resistance to allergens.

Your pets can keep you ON THE MOVE. Taking walks and other physical activity helps both you and your best friend achieve optimum health benefits. Research of 2,000 people conducted by the National Institutes on Health reveals that participating in physical activities with a pet increases general health and significantly lowers obesity risks.

Your pet can help you FEEL MORE SOCIALLY CONNECTED through walks and other interactions with people. A 2014 study revealed that pet owners who shared their lives with dogs and cats had an increased feeling of being connected to relationships and communities. Pets can be a great “date magnet” or “ice breaker” for those who need that extra boost to make an initial social connection.
Pets provide us with loyalty, companionship, love and affection, as well as many physical and psychological benefits. So love your pet — or adopt a new friend — for the health of it!

By Merridee Hansen Farr Caruso, Th e Barking Cat….Where Pets Rule.