Your Knight In Shining Armour: Health Benefits of Having Pets

Coming back to a quiet home after a hard day of work might be relaxing, but there’s nothing like coming home in style to a volley of excited barks and mews and your pet scampering up and down to get a glimpse of you. The celebrity treatment you get after you step foot inside the house will make you feel elated, cue – pets running full tilt in your direction to knock you over and smother you with slobbery licking and bad dog breath. Still the unconditional love and affection your pet gives you after a bad day, will put a smile on that face. And it isn’t just adorable furry over-enthusiastic dog friends which make coming home better, your otherwise uptight cat or wide eyed lizard friend make your days brighter with a host of unexpected health benefits.

Children Who Grow Up With Furry Companions Have Fewer Allergies

It might be a good idea to give in to your child’s demands for a pet, as studies show that pets are great for warding off allergies. Gone are the days when parents would warn kids about rubbing their faces on their furry friends, lest they choke on shedding hairballs. Children who grow up in home playing with animals like cats or dogs or even farm animals showed less chances of having asthma or other allergies. Dr. James Gern, MD, a pediatrician at the University of Wisconsin-Madison undertook a study in which he studied the blood of babies immediately after birth and one year later to check for their response to allergens and bacteria in the environment. Children who grew up with pets at home showed greater resistance to allergies, almost 33% percent, and had greater amounts of immune chemicals in their systems. Since dogs are known for their love of dirt and share the marvels of dirt with their loved ones, children get hardened to various kinds of bacteria. Children with autism and ADHD commonly show improvement when they get pets, as taking care of them helps them settle into a routine and their company has a calming effect.


Pets Keep Elderly People Away From Alzheimer’s

Aged and retired people who have pets are less prone to degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, according to studies. One of the evils which come with age is loneliness and with a pet at home, elderly people were seen having fewer anxious outbursts. A pet keeps people occupied and their brains sharp owing to the routine of care a pet needs.


Your Pet’s Cuddles Keeps Stress Away

If you’re existing in the current century, chances are you’re pretty stressed out. Stress is a common factor in the roar and din of everyday life but them brainy science folks have discovered, that keeping cuddly pets helps combat that as well. War veterans are often asked to keep pets, especially those suffering from PTSD, as pets alleviate stress and anxiety. Stockbrokers, who probably have sky rocketing levels of blood pressure (insert Wolf of Wall Street reference), with adopted pets had lower blood pressure readings in demanding situations than their pet less peers. Cuddling your pets and getting some good old lovin’, shows the same increase in serotonin and dopamine levels as intake of drugs. Serotonin and dopamine are nerve transmitters which induce pleasure in our bodies and hugging a loved one is definitely a more preferable option than getting wasted in a shady alley.


Pets Warm Your Heart And Keep It Strong

Stress induces harmful chemicals like cortisol and norepinephrine which impact the immune system negatively and have been found, along with plaque buildup, to increase heart risks. Since your doggo tries the old puppy eyes trick to get you to take it outside for a romp, you’ll get in more exercise which will boost your heart’s health. According to the American Heart Association, having pets may lower cardiovascular risks, reduce obesity and cholesterol risks. A dog’s goofy natural goodness is amazing for your heart. In a study performed out of UCLA, patients hospitalized with heart failure were allowed to interact with therapy dogs for twelve minutes after which they exhibited better cardiopulmonary pressure, less anxiety and healthier neurohormone levels. (2)


Your Goofy Pet Acts As An Icebreaker

Your pupper’s naturally friendly nature will help you make more friends and meet interesting people. Since people are naturally drawn to all things cute and fluffy, chances are people will stop to pet your cutie and talk to you while they’re at it. As Christie Keith, the online and social media editor at says, “A 1999 Canadian study found that pet owners were more ‘socially engaged’ than non–pet owners.” There’s been a recent rise in places which are designed for both pets and owners. Certain outdoor cafes allow pets with exclusive menus to pamper your pet’s taste buds. Pet parenting classes see many new pet owners interacting with each other while learning to train their pooches. Not to forget, dog parks which is basically dog heaven for your four legged friend, gives you a chance to talk to other pet owners while he’s lolling on the grass. A study at the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2014 found that owning a dog helped children with autism communicate with others better. (3)


All these health benefits are all the more reason to get yourself that dream pet you’ve always wanted. A furry pupper to warm the cockles of your heart, a couple of fishies to glub glub at you, a queenly kitty or even a sullen frog. Nothing like a dose of unconditional love to soften your days.

1. Jeanie Lerche Davis. 5 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health.

2. Cole KM, Gawlinski A, Steers N, Kotlerman J (November, 2007). Animal assisted therapy in patients hospitalized with heart failure.

3. University of Missouri-Columbia. (April, 2014). Dog ownership benefits families of children with autism.