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Community , Community Projects , Healthy Living

The Health Benefits of Owning a Pet

Since 1924, the American Heart Association has been fighting heart disease and stroke and helping people to live longer, healthier lives. Our local AHA shares ways that you can stay healthy, get involved and help raise awareness right here in NEPA.

Your pet is more than a companion. Owning a pet can change your life.

Spending time with your pet can be relaxing, encouraging the release of endorphins, which are brain chemicals that help us de-stress and feel good. Pets can help you reduce stress, boost mood, get more exercise and lower blood pressure and cholesterol. (We’ve got the science to prove it.) Having a pet may even help you get more fit and boost your overall happiness and well-being.

The American Heart Association has rounded up some interesting facts about how pets can help us live longer, healthier lives.

 

Pets and your health:

  • Studies show that dog owners may live longer than non-dog owners.
  • Dog owners are 31% less likely to die from a heart attack or stroke than non-dog owners.
  • People with prior heart events who had a dog living at home had a 65% reduced risk of death.
  • Dog owners who walk their dogs regularly face one-third the risk of diabetes of those who don’t own a dog.
  • Dog parents are more likely to reach their fitness goals than those without canine companions.
  • Pet companionship may provide important social support and is a powerful predictor of behavior changes that can lead to weight loss.
  • Dogs can help with chronic conditions and prevent chronic disease.
  • Pet ownership is an important form of social support that can benefit patients with heart disease or stroke.

Less stress with pets:

  • When we see, touch, hear or talk to our companion animals, we feel goodwill, joy, nurturing and happiness. At the same time, stress hormones are suppressed.
  • Studies show that the mere act of petting a dog decreases blood pressure.
  • Having a pet can help increase fitness levels, relieve stress and boost overall happiness and well-being.
  • Dogs help ease people out of isolation or shyness. Studies find that owning and walking a dog increases social interaction.

Pets and the family:

  • Dog-owning families often promote physical activity within the household.
  • Dog parents are more likely to fit in the recommended level of physical activity than those who don’t have a dog.
  • Dog parents are 34% more likely to fit in 150 minutes of walking per week recommended by the AHA than non-dog owners.
  • Dogs are always there to comfort you. They put a smile on your face every day

According to the Human Animal Bond Research Institute and Mars Petcare, market research reinforces the social bond between humans and pets. In fact, 80% of pet owners say their pet makes them feel less lonely. Eighty-five percent of pet owners and non-pet-owners believe interacting with a companion animal can help reduce loneliness, while 76% agree human-animal interactions can help address social isolation.

From increasing your cardiovascular health to helping you relax, pets can influence both your physical and mental health in many ways. Learn more here–you might just form a healthy bond for life.

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