Can Your Pet Make You Healthy?

| Women's Health

woman running with dog

Every family that has a four-legged friend can attest to the happiness that having a pet can bring to a household. They're cute, fun and they love you unconditionally; what more could you ask for? Well, did you know that in addition to those benefits, pets can also help you live a healthier lifestyle? Here are the ways pets can improve your overall quality of living.

Healthier Heart: Not only are we referring to the unconditional love pets give you through kisses and snuggles, but we also are talking about your physical heart health. Pet owners are proven to have lower blood pressure, which leads to a reduced risk of heart disease. Dog owners are also known to have lower cholesterol and risk of heart attack than non dog owners. In fact, heart attack survivors who own pets live longer than heart attack survivors without pets. (via WebMD)

Exercise Motivators: Dogs don't care how long or exhausting of a day you've had at work; in their eyes, when you get home, it's time for a walk. Period. You might be exhausted, but they surely aren't, and it might even be a good way to unwind and de-stress after your long day. Pets are great motivators when it comes to exercise because they're always ready to go out for a walk or jog and they don't comprehend excuses or delays. They don't care about your walk later; they want to go now! (via Cesar's Way)

Immune System Boosters: There's no way around it: pets can be dirty. However, being exposed to pet hair and allergens at a young age can improve your infant's immune system and reduce the risk for asthma or allergies later in life. (via WebMD)

baby girl with dog

Stress Soothers: Not only are pets great motivators, but petting their silky fur can even lead to health benefits: it aids in producing relaxation hormones like serotonin and cuts down on stress hormones. Not only will you feel more relaxed after a few minutes, but your pet will feel calm too. (via WebMD)

Social Magnets: Having a pet opens the door to a large community of other like-minded people you could meet at the pet store, vet or even while out for a walk. A pet is a great conversation starter that many people can relate to. Pets connect you to a community. (via WebMD)

Mood Boosters: In general, pet owners are happier, more trusting and less lonely than those who do not own pets. Pets can do wonders for your mood and are even known to combat depression. They're a great source of comfort because they will offer you their unconditional love even if they have been mistreated or neglected in the past. Pets teach us wonders about love and compassion. (via Cesar's Way)

>>Read more: 7 Things To Consider When Choosing A Family Dog