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How having a pet can improve your health

Posted by CarePoint Health on Sep 29, 2015 11:00:00 AM

the health benefits of having a petPets are a big part of American life today. More than half of all households have pets, and whether you’ve got a Fido or a Fluffy, having an animal friend in your home could be providing you with real health benefits.

Numerous studies have shown that an animal companion can improve your emotional and physical health. Experienced pet owners may already know that their furry family member helps improve their lives. But if you’re thinking about adopting a pet, take a look at the health benefits you can enjoy:

  • Pets can help relieve your body’s stress response. One study looked at the heart rate and blood pressure of people in stressful situations, and found that those who had a pet had a lower, more controlled response. The lack of blood pressure and heart rate increases could help reduce your risk of heart disease.
  • Dogs can help you get out and meet people. Walking the dog down the street or at a park can help you meet others — not to mention get some exercise. People may be more comfortable approaching someone to talk about your pet, rather than having to start a conversation with a person right off the bat.
  • Many people find important companionship with a pet. Older adults are unable to get out and do as much as a younger person, so having a pet gives them a companion when they’re at home. Talking to and spending time with an animal can be therapeutic, especially for someone who lives alone.
  • Some studies have shown that people who have pets get sick less often. Although more research needs to be done on this, it could be linked to the lower stress response mentioned above.
  • Pets provide social support for children. Most children love animals, and they may feel more comfortable expressing their feelings to a pet rather than an adult. This can help them deal with stressful situations or confusing events. Children who are learning to read may enjoy reading to a pet who is willing and able to sit quietly for a few minutes. This gives them an “audience” without pressure or judgment.

Dogs, cats, fish, birds, reptiles, and many other animals can be treasured family members for many people. Although no animal is a cure-all for health conditions, it may be a fun way to improve your health and well-being. Even people with pet allergies can often find a pet that works for them with a little research and planning. Just make sure you talk with your physician about any potential allergy or asthma issues before you adopt.

CarePoint Health Primary Care

Your primary care physician can help you manage your healthcare, and answer any questions you have about your health. Your PCP will help you navigate your well visits and specialist care throughout your life, and will be your health care advocate. To find a skilled primary care physician at CarePoint Health, please contact us.

Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.

Topics: Health, Children's Health, Primary care, Neighborhood health center

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