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We all know that for animal lovers, having a pet can bring happiness into their daily lives. But did you know that being a pet owner is linked to a variety of health benefits? Discover the many ways in which having a pet can actually make you healthier.
If you ask pet owners to describe how they feel about their beloved cat or dog, they are likely to tell you that their furry friend is not so much a pet but more like part of the family. The bond that develops among pets and their owners can be very powerful. Many pet owners refer to their pets as one of their children. Luckily for pet owners, there are a wide variety of health benefits, both physical and emotional, associated with owning a pet.

Protects Against Allergies

Allergies are becoming more and more common among both children and adults. There is no cure for allergies, and once they do develop, they can be difficult to manage. Allergy symptoms can range from mild discomfort to anaphylactic shock. Although there are effective techniques that can be used to treat allergy symptoms, they are not effective at treating the allergy itself. The best way to avoid suffering from allergy symptoms is to avoid developing allergies in the first place.

When a child grows up in a home that has a furry animal such as a dog or cat, they reduce their risk of developing allergies and asthma later on in life. For example, infants who are raised in a home that has a dog are much less likely to develop pet allergies throughout childhood or later as an adult. But having a pet in the home protects against more than pet allergies. Other conditions that are associated with allergies, such as asthma and eczema, are less likely to occur in children who grow up in homes with furry pets.

Provides Exercise

Owning a pet comes with all of the responsibilities associated with caring for that pet, including feeding the pet, taking him for walks and grooming him. As a pet owner, you are likely to get in much more physical activity than your non-pet owning counterparts. Although these tasks do not equate to the same level of physical activity that you would get if you were participating in a traditional exercise routine, they still force you to get up and get active.

When it comes to staying active, any amount of physical activity is better than none. And if your pet happens to be a dog, those walks that you take him on throughout the day may actually be close to the same amount of exercise that you would get during more traditional workouts.

Lowers Blood Pressure

If you own a pet, you are less likely to have high blood pressure than if you were not a pet owner. Although the reasoning behind the phenomenon is unclear, most health care professionals will agree that owning a pet can significantly lower blood pressure, especially among individuals who live a generally stressful lifestyle. During stressful events, many physiological changes take place within the body, one of which is an elevation in blood pressure. When interacting with a pet, the brain releases serotonin, a nerve transmitter that causes feelings of pleasure and calmness. As the body calms down, blood pressure levels drop shortly after.

Improves Immune System

Owning a pet can boost your immune system in two ways. First, because pets do not bathe regularly, they are considered dirty animals. They trap dirt, dust, germs and other debris on their fur and track it through your home. When babies and children are exposed to this debris regularly, their immune systems will work harder to prevent illness. This results in a stronger immune system over time. Having a pet also boosts the immune system because pet owners experience happiness when interacting with their pet. There is a strong correlation between happiness and improved immune function.

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