Pets Improve Your Health. Science Says So!

Pets are good for you. It’s just a fact. The country’s go-to health experts (the doctors at the CDC) even say so.

But for the skeptics among us (or the curious, or those who love looking at cute animal pictures) we’re here to present proof that your favorite furry friend may be giving you a longer life.

Pets Reduce Your Risk for Heart Disease

According to experts at the American Heart Association, dogs lower heart disease risk factors like:

  • High blood pressure 
  • High cholesterol (the bad kind)
  • High triglycerides (fat in your blood)

Why? Because even ten minutes of exercise a day will reduce all these risk factors, as long as you do it regularly. Walking the dog every day counts!

It’s not just about dogs, though, or just about exercise. Owning a cat reduces your risk of death from a heart attack by a full 30 percent. Researchers aren’t certain about the reason, but they guess that it has something to do with stress levels. Hard to worry so much about work when there’s a fluff-bucket purring in your lap, huh?

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Pets Help Your Mental Health

Which leads us right to our next point: your mental health.

Pets are just plain good for your happiness. They help reduce your stress levels and improve your general outlook on life. That may sound like common sense, but there’s science to prove it. Gazing into puppy dog eyes releases oxytocin, a hormone that aids in bonding and makes you happier. (Think of it as the hug hormone.)

Then there’s the idea of social support, a phenomenon that helps ease depressive symptoms. While we usually think of social support as coming from other humans, some of its benefits — an increased sense of self-worth, for example — apply to relationships with pets, too. When you walk in your door and your dog greets you with a frantically wagging tail and sweet, sloppy kisses, you feel adored. And that makes you feel like a good person.

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What Do Pets Have to Do with Fiscal Health?

Well, if they’re good for your health, a lot. We’re interested in reducing healthcare costs for everyone in North Carolina, and taking care of your health — especially reducing your risk of expensive health events like heart attacks — is one way to do that. Pets are one way to accomplish that goal, so we’re all for them! Also because:

This.

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And this.

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And this.

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Pets in North Carolina

Want to help out some North Carolina animals, or find one for yourself? There are so many ways to do it. You could start at the SPCA, a county animal welfare and rescue program. Here’s the Wake County link, and you can Google the SPCA that’s local to you. There are also private rescues all across the state.

Interested in learning more about fiscal health and healthcare costs? Sign up. We’ll send you updates on legislation that affects YOUR health, including bills that will drive up costs. And then we’ll help you do something about it.

 

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