Studies: Pet ownership has health benefits

May 9, 2013

A review of dozens of studies underscores what we have now been hearing about a lot more, that pet ownership can equal health benefits.

The overall trend suggests pet ownership is associated with lower blood pressure, better cholesterol, and less obesity.

Having an animal around also seems to help the cardiovascular response to stress.

And dog owners seem to get the most benefit because they tend to get more activity.

That's a big plus for those needing physical therapy.

Monica Dabul says dogs especially can help speed recovery because owners tend to focus on getting back to caring for their canine companion.

"A lot of times patients want to get out and start walking their dog," she said. "That is a big part of rehab goals, so I use that and incorporate that into their program just to kind of motivate them. It's a good incentive for them to kind of get back out there and rehab a little bit faster than others."

The report put out by the American Heart Association highlights an interesting link but not necessarily proof pets can make you healthier.

The authors remind us that pet ownership is a major commitment and should not be pursued solely for the benefit of one's health.

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