How Having A Pet Can Influence Your Health

If you have a pet, you are already aware of how much they can improve your mental health. From coping with a mental health disorder, to the occasional bout of loneliness, pets are always there to bring us comfort (via NPR). In fact, many people report receiving more emotional support from their pets than from their human family members (via Wired). With all this in mind, it is no surprise that many people feel deep adoration for their pets. In fact, a survey by the American Animal Hospital Association found that 93% of respondents would be willing to risk their lives for their pets.

The bond between humans and animals is striking, but the effects run even deeper than you would probably expect. You may think that pets provide little more than the occasional emotional benefits, but you would be wrong. Did you know that having pets can influence your physical health as well?

Pets can have a positive impact on mental and physical well-being

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), walking and playing with animals can serve as a form of exercise, which helps to reduce blood pressure as well as cholesterol levels. In addition, pets often provide their humans with opportunities to go outdoors and socialize with others, which can further improve physical and mental well-being.

On the other hand, the CDC warns that pets can occasionally carry germs that may make us sick. For this reason, the CDC advises you wash your hands after touching, playing with, feeding, or cleaning up after your pets. In addition, it is a good idea to bring your pets to the veterinarian regularly.

Overall, the risk is negligible compared to the benefits of pet ownership. In fact, multiple studies have found that pet ownership is associated not only with lower cardiovascular risk, but also with an overall lower risk for premature death (via Verywell Health).