The Superpowers of Your Four-Legged Friend

Does it seem like more and more families you know have a pet? That’s because they do! According to a recent survey, 65 percent of U.S. households have one—up from 56 percent 30 years ago. And you can probably guess the two most common types: Dogs and cats. If you have a pet, you already know the joy they can bring into your life. But you might be surprised at some of the other health benefits that come from having a furry friend. Here are just a few:

  1. A stronger heart: Having an animal around can improve your cholesterol and lower your blood pressure—two factors that reduce your risk for heart disease and heart attacks. On top of that, having a dog that requires daily walks is a surefire way to boost your activity level—helping your heart out even more.
  2. Improved moods: Those daily dog walks are also good for lifting your spirits because of the connection between exercise and mental health. On top of that, having the responsibility of taking care of a pet gives you a sense of purpose and achievement, which might be why having one boosts your self-esteem.
  3. More social interactions: Research shows that having a pet can help you meet new people (animal owners are 60 percent more likely to know neighbors than those without a pet). It makes sense: Pets serve as a natural conversation starter. All it takes is one “What an adorable dog!” and you might just make a new friend.
  4. Communicative children: Kids who have pets are often better at expressing themselves and relating to others. And if your child has autism or ADHD, having a cat or dog can offer comfort and give them a routine to focus on.

Give your pets a hug today and share the way they make your life better in the comments below.

Photo credit: Brianna Neace

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