By Pam Philpott, Staff Writer
Owning a pet brings joy to many people in a variety of ways. But, in addition to being your loyal companion and best friend, your pet can bring some unexpected benefits to your health. Research studies have shown that, among the list of advantages, owning a dog or cat reduces loneliness, stress and the risk of heart disease.
For example, in one 20-year study, people who never owned a cat were 40 percent more likely to die of a heart attack than those who did own one. Another study showed that dog owners had five times the survival rate of patients without dogs. Having a pet can also help you lower your blood pressure. When you stroke a dog or cat, your heart rate slows down and your blood pressure drops. Your pet appreciates the attention, too.
Exercising with your pets increases your activity level and helps you lose weight. Taking your dog for a daily 30-minute walk will keep you active. It will also make sure you get the minimum amount of physical activity to stay healthy and strengthen your bones. Plus, you’re more likely to actually take a walk when you have a pet to go with you.
Another major benefit is that pet ownership reduces loneliness. You have someone to talk to when you’re at home, and when you’re walking your dog, you’re more likely to interact with others. A recent British study found that 40 percent of dog owners said they made friends more easily because they had a dog. Researchers have also noted that when children grow up in a home with a dog or cat, they are less likely to get allergies.
All this shows that pets really are good for you. If you feel you want to take on the responsibility of a dog or cat and can afford it, please consider adopting one from Osceola County Animal Control. This would not only mean potentially better health for you, but a second chance at life for an abandoned or unwanted pet. Visit www.animal-control.org or call for more information.