Pet can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness, and even improve your cardiovascular health. Study shows that pets can be more supportive in times of stress than friends or spouses. The study involved 240 married couples, half of whom owned a cat or dog. Couples without pets had higher blood pressure and heart rates, a strong sign that they were feeling more stress than the pet owners. In the presence of a pet, blood pressure and heart rates went down. People who didn’t own pets had, on average, higher heart and blood pressure rates than people with pets.
A study of heart attack patients published in the American Journal of Cardiology in 1995 found dog owners were six times more likely to survive an additional year than patients who didn’t have dogs. Owning a dog may also help ward off diseases related to stress and a sedentary lifestyle. Urban dog owners generally walk almost twice as much than neighbors without pet dogs, according to a study published in a 2006 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.