Owning a pet “may help you live longer”

There are both mental and physical health advantages to owning an animal.

Pet ownership not only makes people happier, but also has positive mental and physical health outcomes, according to one of Britain’s top pet ownership websites.

A number of noted studies have already concluded that dog ownership has its benefits. The American Journal of Public Health says that children with dogs spend more time taking physical activity than children without dogs.

Another medical study says that adults, too, benefit from the extra exercise that comes with being a dog owner compared to those who do not own a dog.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,”  said Mark Singleton of the Pets4Homes.co.uk pet animal classifieds and advice website, “There are many, many peer-reviewed studies in medical journals that come to the conclusion that pet ownership is good for you.”

See also: Preventing Dementia

“Whether it is the extra exercise that comes with owning an energetic dog, or the mental well-being that comes from having a cat in your household, it’s all good news.”

“Children with a pet in the home are known to be less likely to suffer from allergies, asthma and some skin conditions, and an animal is always a good companion for a young person. And there are other surprising benefits, too.”

A paper published in the British Journal of Health Psychology said that dog owners tend to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol. The paper also suggested that dogs help aid recovery from serious illnesses

As far back as 1989, The Lancet – the world’s most respect medical journal – carried a case study on canine detection of cancer. There have been at least three studies since then, all tentatively pointing to the fact that dogs may be able to sniff out cancers.

And now there are dogs who have been trained to detect blood sugar levels in diabetics. The British Medical Journal has reported that some dogs have been known to change behaviour when blood sugar levels drop in their owners, and research has led to one Canadian child receiving a diabetes-detecting dog in March of last year.

“There’s a wealth of positive medical evidence about the benefits of pet ownership,” said Mark, “While there are so many reports about people living increasing sedentary lifestyles, it’s clear that getting a pet might help to buck this trend.”

See also: Pets Improve Your Health

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