Did you know that owning a pet can improve your physical health?

As pet owners we already know how much our furry friends enrich our lives, but did you know owning a pet can actually improve your physical health? Here’s how…

1. Stress busters

Researchers at the State University of New York found that people were much more able to conduct a stressful task with their pet around than with their spouse, friend or family member! Many treatment centres recommend getting a pet to aid with addiction and more.

Soft cuddly tabby cat lying in its owner's lap enjoying and purring while the owner is reading a book. Focus on the cat; warm, cozy, domestic atmosphere

2. Monitor your blood sugar levels

A study has found that 1/3 of pets living with diabetics would change their behaviour when their owner’s blood sugar level dropped. Now we have organisations that train dogs to be companions for patients at risk of unstable blood glucose levels.

Dog under the table waiting for food

3. Prevent strokes

Did you know that if you have a cat, you’re 30% less likely to have a heart attack, and you’re 40% less likely to have a cardiovascular incident like a stroke? In addition, pets can aid in the recovery of a heart attack. If you have a heart attack and you have a dog, you are significantly more likely to be alive a year later.

4. Pain killers

Put down the paracetamol and pick up your pet instead! Pets reduce anxiety and also reduce pain. A study has found that people who use pet therapy while recovering from surgery may need significantly less pain medication than those who do not.

5. Cheer up

Everyone who has a pet knows what it’s like to come home to a waggy tail! People who own pets have more conversation, love and laughter in their lives than those who don’t.

6. Get social

Owning a dog increases social opportunities; simply taking Rover for a walk on the usual route can lead to lots of interactions with not only fellow dog owners but also passers by stopping to give your dog a fuss and a stroke. This can be very helpful in later life to counteract isolation and loneliness.

7. Prevent allergies 

Babies raised in a home with two or more dogs or cats were found to be up to 77% less likely to develop various types of allergies at age 6 than children raised without pets. The children from pet-owning families were also found to be less likely to suffer from other allergies too, including dust mites, grasses and pollen.

8. Help children develop

Owning a pet helps children to express themselves in more ways and to relate better. Pets are beneficial to children with autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Taking care of a pet helps children with ADHD to focus on routine and responsibility, whilst children suffering from Autism can find animals soothing to hold and stroke.