Is there anything better than coming home to purring and head bumps from your beloved cat, or better yet, the wagging tail of your precious pooch? Science tells us that there’s a reason why our pets make us feel so happy and calm. In fact, research from several universities claim that the close bond we have with our furry BFFs is beneficial for our physical and mental health in these distinct ways:
- Dogs help us stay active
I bet your dog is always up for a W-A-L-K no matter what time or weather condition. According to research from University of Missouri walking with your dog is like having a workout buddy that keeps us accountable to show up at the gym. In fact, the same study found that dog owners walked 300 minutes per week and meet the daily recommended physical fitness levels. That’s twice as much as non-dog owners.
- Pets make us happy
There are several studies that claim having a pet, or getting a pet when you live solo, is a great way to reduce loneliness and depression. In fact, research from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, note that in addition to encouraging physical wellness (which promotes happiness and calm), the bond we have with our pet reduces stress and increases confidence, because caring for another living being shows us we’re competent and worthy of love.
- Strengthens immune health
While most little boys and girls dream of having a kitten or puppy as a pet, scientists at University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine, found that animal exposure during childhood equated to better immune-response to allergies, asthma, eczema, and respiratory infections. In fact, kids who grew up caring for cats, dogs, or farm animals were better able to fight off immune systems and a reduced risk of allergies and sickness as they matured.
- Boosts heart health
While the first sight of your pet after a long day may send your heart soaring, it does the exact opposite for our blood pressure. According to research from Buffalo State University, study participants showed significant reduction in blood pressure in response to petting their cat or dog. Further research from the American Heart Association showed that owning a furry friend reduced blood pressure, chronic stress, high cholesterol, and lowered the overall risk of heart disease.