HappyHoundOur pets love us unconditionally. No matter how bad we mess up, how messy our house gets, or how crazy out hair looks in the morning, we can always count on our pets to love us just the same.

But why do we love our pets? Sure, there are the quirky personality traits, the big soulful eyes and overwhelming adorableness, the crazy antics, and the comfort of having someone to come home too; that’s pretty much a given for all pet owners. But what else is there that drives us to keep pets in our life year after year, and even pet after pet?

It’s possible that there’s a biological imperative that is driving you to be a pet owner. Most people don’t realize that there are scientifically proven health benefits to being a pet owner, but there are. Perhaps our subconscious knows this better than we do, and that’s what compels us to keep our furry friends around, no matter what.

Here are some examples of how pets benefit our health…

  • Owning a pet lowers your blood pressure. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with hypertension and other high-risk individuals, benefit the most from the presence of animals in the home.

  • Owning a pet lowers your cholesterol. The CDC has also reported that people who own pets have lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels than people without pets. Men benefit the most from the heart healthy benefits of a furry friend.

  • Owning a pet eases physical pain. Research has shown that people recovering from surgery with access to pet therapy use less pain medications than those who do not have animals around during recovery. Research has also shown improvement in patients with chronic pain once an animal is introduced into the home.

  • Owning a pet prevents strokes. While people with dogs are more likely to be active because of their pet, cat owners have some perks to pet ownership, too. Cat owners are 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack and 40 percent less likely to have a stroke than those without a feline companion.

  • Owning a pet improves immunity. Research shows that kids with pets miss three weeks per year of school less than kids with no pets. Children who grow up with animals are also less likely to have allergies than kids with no animals.

  • Owning a pet prolongs life after a heart attack. People who have a heart attack and own a dog have much better odds of survival.

  • Owning a pet reduces the cost of medical care. Studies have shown that pet therapy greatly reduces the number of medical appointments that seniors require, and also lowers the need for prescription medication and other expensive treatments.

  • Owning a pet reduces stress. We all know that our pets are comforting and help us relax, but studies have shown that people in stressful situations relax more when their pet is by their side than they do when their spouse, a friend or a family member is with them.

  • Owning a pet may save your life. Pets are increasingly being used for alerting patients to serious health problems, including cancer-smelling dogs, pets noticing drops in blood sugar in diabetic patients and dogs predicting strokes.

  • Owning a pet keeps you physically active. People with pets, especially dogs, are more likely to stay physically fit. We all know the best workout buddy you can find is your four-legged companion!

With these obvious health benefits, and the wealth of other reasons to love your furry or feathered friend, it’s no wonder we cherish the pets in our life.