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Just petting an animal may help you to calm down, but developing a strong, connected relationship with your pet can have further health benefits. If you are considering getting a pet, factor in the following benefits when weighing pros and cons. While owning a pet is not a substitute for receiving regular medical screenings, having a pet can help you to feel happier, less stressed, and can even improve you and your family members’ health in some unexpected ways.

1. Can Help with Blood Pressure

Petting an animal prompts your body to release a relaxation hormone and cut back on a stress hormone. Reducing your stress levels in this natural way can have a positive impact on blood pressure. It may help to lower high blood pressure and may help to keep blood pressure regulated in general. Lowering stress levels can also be instrumental in keeping the immune system strong.

2. Heart Health May Improve

Dog owners that have heart problems generally live longer than non-dog owners that have heart problems. This may have to with the fact that those with dogs walk their dogs on a regular basis. The blood pressure regulation that petting a dog affords may also have an impact on heart health, but triglyceride levels and cholesterol levels are usually lower, as well. Owning a dog is beneficial for heart health in generally healthy people, as well.

3. Pets May Reduce Child Allergies

Children that are exposed to pets before they are six months old are much less likely to develop certain types of allergies and to experience certain symptoms. Being exposed to dander correlates to lower rates of asthma, eczema, hay fever, and respiratory infections. In general, children that grow up with animals usually have stronger immune systems than children without pets.

4. Dogs Have a Probiotic Effect

It may sound odd, but studies have found dogs to have a probiotic effect on humans. Inhaling dust particles with dog danger may not sound healthy, but it has actually shown to improve the gut microbiome. This can aid in the digestion of food and keep the GI tract healthy. While much research is still being conducted to find out more about the gut microbiome, doctors and scientists agree that the balances of good and bad bacteria present in the gut have a major impact on health.

5. Emotional and Mental Health May Improve

In addition to lowering stress levels, owning a pet may help to improve self esteem and may help with emotional and mental health. Pet owners have lower rates of depression and other emotional disorders. Pet ownership has also shown to have a positive impact on patients with PTSD.

If you’re looking to better your health through all the potential avenues, give us a call to help with your health insurance.