Did you know that pets can have a positive impact on your health?  We’re always told to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly in order to keep up with our health, but who knew owning a pet could add to these benefits?

1)  Allergy Fighters
Most people think that growing up with pets will actually make allergies worse.  However, it has been found that kids growing up in a home with “furry” animals have a lower risk for developing allergies and asthma.  The reason for this is because the young immune system will get use to the allergens, preventing problems in the future. 

2)  Improve Your Social Life
Whether you have a dog, cat, or guinea pig, pets are great conversation starters.  Most of the time, owning one forces owners to meet new people—through obedience classes, going on walks, the waiting room at the vet’s office, etc...  Dogs can actually help people ease out of social isolation or shyness. 

3)  Good for the Mind, and the Heart! 
Animals have the ability to relax us.  Because of this, owning a pet can prove to lower blood pressure, improve depression and other mood disorders and decrease stress.  Nursing home residents’ quality of life can be bettered from regular visits from pets and it has also been shown that Alzheimer’s patients have fewer outbursts when there is a dog around. 

4)  They Help Us to Lose Weight

It’s true; studies have shown that people who own pets have healthier weights than those who don’t.  This is because pets, especially dogs, require exercise which forces us to get up off the couch and get exercise too.  There are several different ways you can exercise with your pet, it isn’t only limited to walking. 

5)  They Teach Us New Skills
 
Believe it or not, pets can be great teachers.  The list of lessons they can teach us is endless.  Whether your pet shows you how to be responsible or how to make friends, he will prove to be one of the smartest friends you’ve ever had!

It is understandable to pets aren’t for everyone, but all of these are great reasons to get one.  The advantages of owning one far outweigh the disadvantages.  No matter what, owning a pet is a great learning experience for all of us.