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8 reasons why owning a pet is good for your health

Date updated: 17 11 2017

It’s simple: life’s just better with your furry friend by your side. You know it. Everypaw knows it. But don’t just take our word for it, there’s a ton of evidence to back it up. Turns out our pets can help make us healthier as well as happier…

Stroke your cares away

Take a group of seriously stressed out humans. Add one rabbit  - and even the odd turtle or two. Throw some cuddly toys into the mix as well. Now, ask them to get stroking!

In this study, it was shown that stroking a cuddly toy had no effect, but petting a living creature (even the tortoise) helped bring those anxiety levels right down. It even worked if the participant said they didn’t like animals. Solid proof that cuddling your buddy will brighten your day!

Keeping your feet on the ground

That annoying new boss, money worries, or just a bit of a ‘meh’ day: when something’s getting you down, it can be hard to get it out of your head.

Don’t worry, your buddy’s got it covered. As soon as you walk in the front door, they lose their mind with excitement! Every time they run and grab their lead, demand a cuddle, or remind you that actually it’s play time now, they’re exactly the distraction you needed.  

Who needs a personal trainer?

Even with the best will in the world, dragging yourself to the gym can be a big ask, especially if it’s raining outside. Or there’s something good on TV. Or actually, yeah… maybe you’ll just go tomorrow instead. Half an hour’s quality time in the park with your buddy however: that’s another story...

This survey found that dog owners get 74 minutes of exercise a day on average, compared to non-owners who get just 18 minutes! It’s all about staying in shape by doing something that you actually love.

A boost to your self esteem

Lots of non-animal lovers have got it all wrong. They think that people turn to pets because they “don’t click” with people. But actually, there’s a direct link between having a great relationship with your furry friend and having better human relationships.

It’s healthy to empathise with others - whether they’ve got two legs or four - and sharing experiences, getting into scrapes and even just being there for each other makes us better people. Pets can be a huge part of this!    

A boost for kids’ immune system

One study showed that babies from pet-owning families (especially dogs) showed higher levels of microbes linked to lower risks not just of allergic disease, but also obesity.

Research also suggests that kids with pets seem to have fewer colds, and that having a dog could actually reduce the risk of asthma. Kids and their furry friends spend a lot of time together rolling around, playing and exploring, and this seems to stimulate the immune system and give it a bit of a boost.       

They listen - but don’t judge...

Pets are always there to hear you out. Your pooch will hang on your every word, and won’t interrupt with his own story or butt in with suggestions on what you should do next. We all need a friend like that when something’s on our mind.

For little ones, pets can play an extra special role here. For children who are maybe struggling with reading and feel self-conscious practicing in front of a grown-up, dogs are the perfect non-judgemental buddy.  

Find your soulmate

If a happy, healthy relationship is what you’re looking for, your bff could be the ideal wingman?

For one thing, they’re a great icebreaker - whether it’s just as a topic of conversation or bumping into other pet owners in the park. There’s even a ‘Tinder for dogs’ app where you and your buddy can double date.

A sixth sense?

Loads of owners say that if they're feeling ill or upset, their pet just seems to know. And they’re always available for spooning on the sofa, whenever you need them.

Scientists think it’s down to their awesome sense of smell (for some dog breeds it’s over 100,000 times stronger than ours). Being ill or upset changes your body chemistry, and it’s thought that our buddies can sniff out and react to these changes, and give you some love when you need it most.


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