Studies show that pets promote a variety of health benefits – physical and mental, as well as social. Spending just 15 to 30 minutes in the presence of a pet can reduce your anxiety and stress levels, lower your blood pressure and even help your heart.
Your four-footed [or winged] friend acutally spurs chemical and hormonal reactions throughout your body when he greets you at the door or you pet him while he naps in your lap. “Interaction with pets has been found to lower cortisol levels, which rise in response to stress, and increase levels of serotonin, which regulate depression,” says Rebecca Johnson, M.D., director for the Human-Animal Bond, School of Veterinary Medicine, at Purdue University.
Researchers have also found cardiovascular benefits and lowered blood pressure in pet owners, probably due to those and other hormonal and chemical changes.
(Source: Arthritis Today magazine, September-October 2003.).