Pet Ownership

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National Pet Day is April 11, 2023

Did you know an estimated 68% of U.S. households have a pet?

There is little that compares to the joy of being greeted at the end of the day by the unconditional love of a pet. While research on human-animal interactions is still relatively new, some studies have shown positive health effects of pet companionship. Interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure. The CDC states that pets can decrease your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Our loyal companions help us recover from stressful events and provide ample opportunities to get up and get moving. According to the National Institute of Health, dog owners are more likely to have better recovery rates after a heart attack. Pet ownership is also associated with a reduction in loneliness and depression.

Kids who read to animals showed better social skills and more sharing, cooperation, and volunteering. An article from Time magazine reports that exposure to pet dander early in life could prime babies’ still-developing immune systems to be able to fend off common allergens.

There are many reasons to get a four-legged companion but pet ownership isn’t for everyone. Be sure to speak to your veterinarian, local animal services or stop by the Extension office to find answers to questions you may have about adding a pet to your family.