If you’re on the fence about whether or not to get a pet, allow us to sway you with some solid evidence—pets are good for your health! In fact, according to the CDC, there are a number of health benefits that come from owning a pet, including reducing stress, improving heart health, and even easing depression and anxiety. Here are five of the top ways that pets can improve your health.

1. Reducing Stress

One of the most common reasons people cite for why they want a pet is because they hope it will help reduce their stress levels. And turns out, they’re not wrong! Studies have shown that interacting with animals can help lower cortisol levels (that’s the stress hormone) in both children and adults. So, if you’re looking for a way to destress after a long day at work or want to teach your kids how to better deal with everyday stressors, getting a furry friend might be the way to go.

2. Improving Heart Health

Another great reason to own a pet is that it can actually help improve your heart health! People who own pets tend to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels—two key factors in maintaining a healthy heart. What’s more, pet owners are also less likely to develop heart disease later in life. So, if you’re looking for ways to keep your ticker in tip-top shape, consider getting yourself a cat or dog.

3. Easing Depression and Anxiety

If you suffer from depression or anxiety (or know someone who does), you’ll be happy to hear that having a pet can actually help ease these conditions. Pets provide companionship and unconditional love, which can be extremely beneficial for people struggling with mental health issues. In fact, service animals like dogs are often used in therapy sessions to help people dealing with depression and anxiety disorders. So, if you’re looking for a furry friend who will offer some extra emotional support, consider adopting a dog from your local animal shelter.

4. Boosting Immunity

Did you know that owning a pet can actually boost your immunity? It’s true! Studies have shown that exposure to pets at an early age helps build up immunity against allergies and asthma later in life. So, if you want your kids to grow up healthy and strong, getting them a cat or dog might be the way to go! And even if you’re not allergic to pets yourself, owning one can still help improve your immunity by exposing you to new germs (which is actually good for you!). 

5. Encouraging Exercise

Last but not least, owning a pet is a great way to encourage yourself (or your kids) to get up and move! Dogs need daily walks or runs and cats need plenty of playtime—both of which are excellent forms of exercise. Getting regular exercise has countless benefits for your health, including improving brain function, reducing stress levels, boosting heart health, etc. So if you’re hoping to lead a healthier lifestyle but find it difficult to motivate yourself to work out regularly, getting a dog might just do the trick! 

No doubt about it, owning a pet can have a very positive impact on our physical and mental health. So if you’re looking for a way to improve your wellbeing, consider adopting a furry friend from your local animal shelter today. Chances are, there’s a special one waiting for their forever home and a human companion just like you!

Pro Tip: It’s important to consider your personality and lifestyle when choosing an animal to adopt. Some quick homework will help you ask the right questions, for example, if you’re adopting a dog from a rescue or shelter. If you’re ready to take the plunge, Austin Pets Alive is a great place to start. Or you might find your perfect match at the Austin Humane Society, the oldest non-profit pet adoption center in town, or our highly-rated community shelter, the Austin Animal Center. ♥

If you have comments and/or questions about this blog, email us at blog@peoplesrx.com.