PetAnimals can find a special place in your heart. According to current research, they may also do your heart some good. Animals in the home offer some surprising health benefits. Researchers at the American Animal Hospital Association have found that pets improve the human condition, giving their owners lower blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety levels. Pet owners also have lower levels of blood cholesterol and triglycerides in comparison to non-pet owners. Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles have also found that Medicare patients who owned pets had fewer medical care visits than those who did not.

Pets also can have an effect on your mental health. People who have pets feel less loneliness and depression than those who do not. Pets offer more opportunities for outdoor activities and socialization, and they encourage you to get more exercise. They can improve your mood and reduce stress as well.

So if you have been considering welcoming an animal into your home, you can feel good about not only caring for your pet, but about the benefits you will have as well. In fact, according to Dr. Edward Creagan, an oncologist at the Mayo Clinic, getting a pet is one of the easiest and most rewarding ways of living a longer and healthier life. Having a pet isn’t for everyone, as there is additional work and responsibility from pet ownership. But for most people, the benefits of having a pet outweigh the drawbacks.