The Health Benefits of Keeping Pets

1. Community Bonding While you’re clearly going to meet people while walking your dog, a 2015 study by the University of Western Australia reported dog owners were five times more likely to get to know people in their local neighbourhood, compared to other pet owners. Yet owning a cat, rabbit or bird also provides a connecting point with like-minded people in your area or at work. The study found 42% of pet owners had received some kind of social support from someone they met via their pet.

2. Pets as Ice Breakers Our furry, feathered and aquatic friends can provide the perfect conversation starters. Bonding over a pet is a neutral and safe conversation starter. It may even help your dating life. A British poll found that 82% of women said they are more attracted to men who like animals.

3. Health Benefits Stroking a cat or simply watching a fish swim in an aquarium helps us to relax, reducing your heartbeat rate and lowering blood pressure. Research has shown that this effect is particularly marked in people suffering from high blood pressure. One study found that over a ten-year period cat owners were 30% less likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than non-cat owners. A general increase in physical activity with certain pets like dogs or horses is a welcome bonus. Sharing your life with an animal also offers psychological benefits, including a general feeling of emotional support.

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