Research shows that owning a pet is linked to lower heart rate and blood pressure in response to stress. According to a survey of family physicians, 87 percent said their patients’ mood or outlook had improved as a result of pet ownership.
Pets can also provide people with social support that reduces feelings of loneliness and social isolation. In one survey, 85 percent of respondents agreed that pets reduce feelings of loneliness. Research suggests pet owners are more socially connected, and more likely to get to know their neighbors than non-pet owners.
Pets can also bolster physical health.
Dog ownership can lead to increased exercise and lower rates of obesity. One study found that dog owners were nearly 70 percent more likely to participate in leisure-time physical activity than non-owners.
Research demonstrates an association between pet ownership and a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and heart-related health issues. A study of 2,400 cat owners concluded there was a lower relative risk of death due to CVD compared to non-cat owners.
To learn more about the health benefits of the human-animal bond, please visit HABRI.org.