Sherry A. Phillips

Suspense Author

Do Pets Help You Live Longer?

Anyone who knows me, knows how much of an animal lover I am. At one point a few years ago, our family had a horse, three dogs, a cat, two hamsters, two birds, a fish and a snake in our yard we called “Charlie.”

I have always loved animals and cannot imagine my life without them. As it turns out, my love of having animals in my life may actually help me live longer.

From Dr. Oz’s website:

Heart-healthy Benefits of Animals

Our animal friends often warm our hearts, but according to studies, they also protect them. A study reported in the Medical Journal of Australia found that pet owners generally have lower blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels than people who do not own pets. Having a cat companion could cut your heart attack risk by nearly one-third! According to a study by the Minnesota Stroke Institute, which followed more than 4000 cat owners over a period of 10 years, being a feline owner can significantly decrease the chance of dying from heart disease. Pet owners have also been found to recover more speedily after surgery.

Man’s Best Friend Motivates You to Move

Who needs a fitness coach when you have a dog? Nothing is more motivational to get moving than a dog’s yearning expression that says, “Take me out!” People with dogs exercise more consistently than dog-free people – and the benefits to your long-term health are many! First of all, you fit in 20 or more minutes of solid walking every day, a low-impact exercise that benefits your heart. You also get your daily dose of sunshine every day, which boosts your mood and supplies you with vitamin D. And you receive the uplifting, stress-busting benefits of being outdoors. What’s not to love?

Animal Pals Help Us Stay Healthy

People with pets seem to enjoy better overall health. Researchers know that joy and laughter trigger the release of chemicals in the brain that enhance your immune function. Pets make us smile and laugh with their amusing antics and lovable gestures. And petting something furry is a proven immune boost. A Wilkes University study found that stroking a dog for 18 minutes caused a significant increase in secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA), your body’s natural antibody against invading germs. Another study found that people with pets make fewer doctor visits, especially for non-serious medical conditions. A household pet could be just what the doctor ordered!

Less Stress With Pets

A bad day can instantly dissolve when you get home from work to be greeted by a loving friend who is happy to see you. The benefits of de-stressing don’t end there: interaction with pets reduces overall levels of the stress hormone cortisol. A study that recorded the neural activity in seniors while they walked with a pooch found that this gave them a boost in parasympathetic nervous system activity, the system that helps calm and rest the body. Less stress equals a longer life, so keep good company.

If you don’t have a pet, why not look into getting one for yourself? Do your research, find out which pet best suits your personality or head to your local animal shelter and save a life. Who knows? That shelter dog or cat you save, could end up saving you!

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