Do you know the AMAZING health benefits of being a pet parent?
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Between peaceful kitty purrs and cozy doggie snuggles, our four-legged friends do all sorts of things to boost our lives with love. 

But did you know research shows that pet parenthood is beneficial for our mental health and physical health? Yep — animal friends are extraordinary beings! 

If you’re not ready for a pet for whatever reason, we salute you for recognizing the responsibility that comes with pet parenthood. And don’t worry, you can soak up lots of these benefits without being a full-time pet parent. We’re all about that #DogAunt and #PlantMom life. 🐶

9 AMAZING health benefits of being a pet parent 

1. Boost in mood 

pet benefitsGetting greeted by a pup after a long day at work or curling up on the couch with a cat works some serious magic on our moods!  

Even watching cat YouTube videos boosts positivity, studies show. So, watch away and let the fuzzy, feel-good vibes flow! 

2. Releases oxytocin 

health benefits of having cat

You know those snuggly sessions on the couch with your furry friend? They’re boosting your oxytocin levels! 

A 2017 study showed that humans (and dogs!) get an increase in oxytocin — also known as the love hormone —  when we gently pet our pooches. 

Oxytocin is important for bonding, friendships, and overall feelings of connection. Some research shows it can even increase our ability to accept others. So when in doubt, hug it out with your animal friend (gently, of course). 

3. Lower risk of cardiovascular disease

pet benefits

Do you live solo? This one’s for you! In single-person households, dog ownership leads to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Particularly among heart attack survivors who live alone, being a pet parent lowers the risk of death by 33 percent. 

4. Lower cholesterol 

pet health benefits

More good news for your heart! Studies show parenting a pet is associated with lower cholesterol. However, the reasons for why pet moms and dads have lower cholesterol is still a bit of a mystery (is it because of the pet’s presence or do pet parents happen to have healthier lifestyles?) Either way, it’s still good news! 

5. Lower mortality 

health benefits of petting a cat

Seriously! Research shows that dog parenthood is associated with a 24-percent reduced risk of death from any cause (among the general public). So grab your leash, and give your pup (or a friend’s) some love in return. It’s the least we can do! 

6. Gets you outside more! 

health benefits of a pet dog exercising outside

Those morning walks and evening strolls are beneficial for all sorts of reasons — they build stronger bones, lower blood pressure, and improve cardiovascular fitness. Even just watching your dog’s wagging tail is bound to put a smile on your face! 

Plus, walks with your furry friend get you out and about. The simple act of breathing outside and looking somewhere besides a screen is an amazing break in a routine filled with overflowing inboxes, slack notifications, and everything else that competes for our attention.

7. Decrease loneliness and depression

pet benefits

Whether you’re a cat mom or dog uncle, taking care of an animal friend has been proven to lead to less loneliness and depression (hence, pet therapy). 

Why? Experts say they fulfill a human need for touch and provide a source of purpose besides oneself. Plus, pets may instill extra motivation to engage in healthy activities that reduce feelings of social isolation. 

8. Increased socialization

Forming connections with neighbors during dog walks is just one of the ways pet parents benefit socially. 

A survey shows pet parents, specifically ones who walk their dogs, bond with others through pet-related connections or just getting social support in general. For example, commenting on puppy Instagram pics and sending texts about your friend’s cat are easy ways to bond with the assistance of a furry friend. 

9. Less stress (even at work!)


cats can keep you calm at work

The vibrations of those super-soothing cat purrs can have therapeutic benefits, such as lowering stress. (Check out this infographic to see more of the perks of cat purrs.)

And research shows taking your dog to work can buffer work stress and make work more satisfying. Who doesn’t love the idea of petting a pup during a conference call?! 

Want to know if you have a cat or dog personality? Take our quiz

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