Get a Pet, Get Out and Get Healthy!


Your health is tied to your heart. If your heart is tied to your pet, chances are excellent that you’re healthier than most; mentally and physically.

Who’s your best friend?

Woof woof! Meow! Tweet tweet!  Do these sounds make you feel happy, comfortable and good inside?  Dogs, cats, horses and other animal species can be not only our best friends, but they can also benefit us emotionally, psychologically and physically.  For years, the medical community has reported tremendous health benefits brought to us by animals and that can also hold true even if they are not in our own family.

Perhaps one of the most studied and obvious health benefit pets provide is cardiovascular improvement.  Certainly, Fido needs regular walks, runs and playtime.    An added benefit to this physical activity is that pets tend also to make us walk faster, for longer periods of time and they help to keep the physical exercise on a regular schedule.  Think of a dog as a personal trainer!

I heart my pet.

Concerning heart-health, one NIH News in Health-funded study found that of 421 heart-attack suffering patients examined, those with pets had a more significant chance of being alive one year later, as opposed to patients without pets. The results of this study showed that this benefit remained true regardless of the severity of the heart attack.1

Pets have also been known to drop their owners’ blood pressure, which is an another benefit for the heart.

Pet owners are never lonely.

Other benefits stemming from pets, according to The CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are reported decreases in cholesterol levels and feelings of lonliness.2   Pet ownership is an ideal and instant icebreaker because they can easily help a person start up a conversation.   Everyone loves to pet a dog or play with cat-what better way to start a friendly chat with someone and the four-legged friend can help do the talking.

Although some people definitely suffer from pet dander allergies, there is research indicating that growing up around pets can even help curb allergies. A pediatrician at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. James E. Gern, has done studies showing up to a 33 percent decrease in developing allergies when pets are present in a home. Children who are exposed to animals early in development also tend to develop stronger overall immune systems. While this won’t help adults already struggling with allergies, it can be great news for families without an existing allergy problem.

Winston Churchill once said, ”There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”  Based on research, no more true words have been spoken.  So, go get the saddle, Frisbee, ball or–better yet, some running shoes! You will get much-needed exercise with your newest and best personal trainer!

1 NIH News In Health, , Features section, February 2009
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC 24/7: Saving Lives, protecting People   ”Healthy Pets Healthy People”,, page last updated April 30, 2014
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Jamie Wallace
Having a first degree in Journalism (Ohio University) and a second in Animal Science (University of Florida), I’ve devoted my entire professional career to animals in one capacity, or another. Since 1994, I have been professionally employed in the equine industry in many varying positions. In my past position as a University of Florida/IFAS Marion County Extension Agent, I solely conceptualized, marketed and developed water quality/natural resources education/outreach program for the equine industry. Articles were routinely written betwen 2010-2016 for trade journals, such as Florida Horse and The Horse Capital Digest, to educate and enhance individual farm consultations. When not currently riding or playing with my pets, I have an equine business consulting service that improves everything from the books to the barn, improving the bottom line, marketing and the facility. I have recently started my own blog, Please join! Also, check out my Facebook page: . My goal is to educate about how much true happiness and pure love my animals have brought me (and continue to bring), and enlighten those on how very much adoption will change their life, as it has changed mine.