People have pets for various reasons. Some people are lonely. Some people want protection or companionship. Some people have simply never known life without a furry friend.

No matter what the reason, pet owners love their four-legged friends. These pets act as companions, listening ears, and friendly faces.

But did you know scientific studies backup the importance of having a pet? Studies by the American Heart Association have found that pets offer more than friendship. They also offer significant health benefits:

Pet owners are more likely to live a happier life than those who don’t own a pet. Especially for those who struggle with depression, pets offer companionship and comfort.

  • People with pets will have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets.
  • Playing with a dog or cat can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, improving people’s mood.
  • Pet owners over the age of 65 make 30% fewer visits to the doctor than those without pets.

More specifically, people who own a dog enjoy even more benefits:

  • Dog owners are more likely to engage in the recommended amount of daily exercise. A study by Harvard Health Publications has revealed that people who got a dog walked 30 minutes more a week than they did before.
  • Dog owners maintain a productive routine. Since dogs must maintain a strict schedule of feeding and exercise, this helps the dog owner maintain a routine as well. This can be especially helpful for people who struggle emotionally or socially.
  • Dog owners have more opportunities for social interaction. Taking a dog out on a walk offers structure for the dog (and the owner), as well as a chance to interact with people and their pets.

These are just a few of the therapeutic benefits of having a pet. Studies seem to indicate, pets offer all these health benefits because they fulfill the basic human need for touch. Touch is a proven method to lower stress which is why petting a dog or cat is just so relaxing!

All these health benefits are based on one thing: your little friend! You already knew your pet was special, but now you have research to back it up!

So, pet owners, be thankful you have such a special companion to keep you healthy and happy.

If you would like to share a picture of your pet(s) with us, please go to Healthy Burnett’s Facebook page and comment a picture of your special pet(s) on this article’s post.

If you don’t currently own a dog or cat, consider adopting one! You can call the Burnett County Humane Society today or stop by in person to see the numerous, loving animals that need a loving home. Just call (715) 866-4096, visit their website, http://hsburnettcty.org, or visit them in person at 7347 Midtown Rd in Siren, WI.

Submitted by: Amelia Johnson, Burnett Medical Center Marketing Intern. “Healthy Minute” is brought to you by healthyburnett.org


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