And with the Holidays approaching the wish of a little dog or cat grows large (Santa must keep huge stocks of puppy-chow at hand). Well reports suggest that owning a dog or cat may help you live a much healthier and happy life.
Huffington Post reports that the social and emotional benefits of pet ownership are many: companionship, affection, unconditional love, and entertainment, to name a few. Children raised with pets are more likely to be empathetic and social than kids without pets. And having a pet can help enhance a child's self-esteem.
Recent research has also uncovered some surprising physical and psychological benefits of pet ownership for children and adults. And many of the positive effects are not just limited to dogs and cats, but rabbits, rodents, birds, fish, lizards and other pets as well. Here are six of these health benefits:
- Pets can help prevent eczema and some allergies in children. Babies and toddlers who live with dogs -- but not cats -- have lower rates of childhood eczema than those raised without dogs. And young children who've had a cat or dog since their first year of life have fewer pet allergies than other kids their age.
- People who own pets make fewer trips to the doctor than those who don't. As a result, pets help keep the cost of health care down for individuals as well as our nation.
- Pet owners tend to have lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels than people who don't have pets.
- Petting pets has been shown to reduce blood pressure and heart rates in adults. Even being in the same room with pets, including fish in tanks, can lower blood pressure and reduce stress in adults and children. Indeed, many dentists and other doctors keep aquariums in their waiting rooms. This not only helps relieve anxiety, but reduces the need for pain medication as well.
- Regardless of age, people who have pets, especially dogs, get more exercise than non-pet owners. While this isn't surprising for dog owners, owners of other kinds of pets are also more likely to be physically active than people who don't have pets. Perhaps as a result of this increase in exercise, adults and kids with pets also tend to have lower rates of obesity.
- Last but not least, dog and cat owners are significantly more likely to survive heart attacks than non-pet owners, regardless of the severity of the heart attacks.
Estimated number of cats and dogs entering shelters each year - 6-8 million (HSUS estimate)
Estimated number of cats and dogs euthanized by shelters each year - 3-4 million (HSUS estimate)
Estimated number of cats and dogs adopted from shelters each year - 3-4 million (HSUS estimate)So add some love to your life. Save or rescue a pet and safe yourself.