Student Life

Furreal: Why Having a Pet is Good for You

Time to find your furry friends — studies have shown that pets cause all sorts of benefits for their owners! Researchers have found that human-animal interactions cause pet-owners to be healthier and happier. Here are seven proven reasons why snuggling up to your furry pet could be healthier for you:

1. Pets are pain-killers. It’s weird but true: For pain management, many hospitals are turning to animal visits as a form of therapy. According to a study from Loyola University, patients who use this therapy while in recovery need half of the pain medication than those who don’t

2. Pets are personal trainers. Forget the gym — there’s a new four-legged trainer in town. Those who walk their dog regularly are more likely to be active and less overweight than their non-pet walking counterparts.

3. Pets improve your mood. When you play with your pet, you increase the brain’s mood-boosting levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin! Additionally, mere contact with animals elevate levels of oxytocin, the chemical that activates the brain’s pleasure centers, and reduces stress levels.

4. Pets — and their owners — are social butterflies. Studies show that those who walk their dog in public are more likely to be more conversational in other settings, and are seen by others as kind and approachable.

5. Pets fix an aching heart. Literally. Studies show that pets reduce the risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease by lowering systolic blood pressure, triglyceride levels, and plasma cholesterol. Additionally, pet owners who have heart attacks are more likely to survive.

6. Pets boost your immune system. Research states that children from households with pets attend three more weeks of school per year, develop fewer allergies, have less eczema, and have higher levels of some immune system chemicals.

7. Pets can protect your health. Animals have been proven to be able to smell chemical changes in the body before we can even sense them! Dogs are now being trained to be able to detect drops in glucose levels for diabetics, and are able to detect epileptic seizures.

By Aisling Williams

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