Health Benefits of Pet Ownership

If you have ever visited our Shippensburg location for your pet’s exams, chances are I have talked to you at one point or another about my beloved cat Roland.  He is a one-year old Ragdoll, and he is quite the character.  Like most of your pets, he immediately greets me at the door when I return home. Roland always makes it a point to chirp at me and tell me how his day was and if any of his “fur siblings” had misbehaved while I was gone.  He never misses a chance to “help” me make my bed or be by my side during my morning routine in case I ever need his advice while applying my makeup.  His newest quirk is looking into the mirror and giving himself a motivational “pep talk” each day.

cat looking in mirror

Not only is Roland my cat, but he’s also one of my best friends.  To celebrate the joys that he and pets everywhere bring to our lives, I would like to share a few facts about how pets better our health!

    • According to the CDC and the National Institutes of Health, pet ownership has been linked to a decreased risk of a heart attack.  Relatedly, our “fur children” can even help us to lower our blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels.  Not only do our pets warm and fill our hearts with joy, but they also help to keep us heart healthy!
    • Have you ever arrived home after a bad day and been cheered up after spending a few minutes talking to and petting your “fur baby?” Among those individuals diagnosed with mild to moderate depression, pet ownership has been shown to improve their mood! Researchers have concluded that the unconditional love, companionship, social interaction, and responsibility that pets afford us are powerful agents in helping to alleviate depression. So the next time you are having a difficult day, look forward to improving your mood by taking your pet on a walk or snuggling up to him/her on the couch when you get home!
    • Do you have young children and are currently debating whether or not to introduce a pet into their life? It should be noted that pets have many health benefits for children, too! In addition to the comfort and nurturing that pets can provide for young children, they can also lower their risk of developing common allergies (e.g., ragweed, grass, and dust-mite allergens). In a study led by Dr. Dennis Ownby, children with at least two pets were found to be less than half as likely to suffer from common allergies when compared to children who did not have any pets in their household. Not only may your new cat or dog become your child’s new best friend, but he/she could also help to boost their immune systems!

In conclusion, pets do not only provide us hours of entertainment and laughs, but they also have many physical and psychological health benefits for pet lovers of all ages.  Sure, taking your dog outside to go to the bathroom on a cold winter night probably isn’t your favorite thing to do.  Nor is having your cat meow and climb all over you when you try to sleep.  With all things considered, however, they sure are quite remarkable characters that I know my life wouldn’t be complete without.