According to this article in care2.com, scientists have recently discovered many health benefits that can be attributed to pets. Many people intuitively believe that pets have healing benefits, but there is now scientific proof for such beliefs:
1. Pets lessen the risk of allergies and asthma: Recent studies have found that children who grow up in homes with dogs are much less likely to have certain allergies, and are less likely to develop eczema later in life.
2. Pets reduce stress: A Mindlab International survey reported that 55% of people were more relaxed after spending time with their pets. Stress reduction is a novelty in today’s society and can greatly improve one’s mental and physical health.
3. Cats lower risk of fatal heart attack: Those who own cats have been found to have a 40% lower risk of heart attack, most likely due to the fact that owning a cat can reduce anxiety, which can lead to heart conditions.
4. Dogs lower blood pressure and cholesterol: The British Journal of Health Psychology reported this, and attributed it to the fact that dog owners generally engage in regular walks with their pet.
5. Pets can help people with serious illness: Physicians often encourage ailing patients to own a pet because it has been found that this can motivate people to take better care of themselves.
6. Dogs help with weight loss: A study from the University of Missouri found that people were much more likely to be motivated to walk when their walking partner was a dog rather than another human. It has been found that walking a dog for just 20 minutes a day could result in up to 14 pounds of weight-loss in a year.