And you thought all Rover was good for was eating, sleeping and providing overtime work for the pooper scooper. But your dog, cat, rabbit, hamster, fish (or any pet for that matter) is good for much more than that!
The many health benefits of pets
Research shows that when you stroke an animal, your blood pressure goes down and your heart rate slows. For many people, watching fish in an aquarium creates a similar decrease in blood pressure and heart rate, and is both soothing and meditative.
According to the Humane Society, pet owners tend to have lower stress levels, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and are more likely to survive a heart attack. Pet owners also tend to rehabilitate faster from physical or psychological illnesses.
A study conducted by the United States National Institutes of Health in 2001, showed that people who have pets not only "make fewer doctor visits, especially for non-serious medical conditions," but are more likely to be alive one year after being treated for a coronary condition. Pets relieve stress and fight depression by inducing laughter. They keep us amused with their crazy antics and zest for life.
Here's an odd benefit of pet ownership. Children who have difficulty reading aloud may be much more at ease if they read aloud to their pet.
A UCLA Medical Center study showed improved lung and heart function in heart failure patients after a 12-minute visit with a dog. The study also showed that these patients had a noticeable drop in stress hormones and their perceived anxiety dropped significantly.
Research shows that pet owners tend to be more active physically, especially dog owners who get out and walk with their pets on a regular basis.
In short, pets help reduce feelings of anxiety, stress and isolation and improve health, so take good care of your furry or scaly friend!