Most people decide to get a pet because they love animals and want to have one of their own. It’s common knowledge that humans and their pets share a special, loving connection. But did you know that owning a pet is also good for your health? Even more reason to go out and adopt a dog or cat! Here are some of the top health benefits that come with pet ownership.

Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels

Studies have found that pet owners are less likely to have high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, particularly in those already suffering from these issues. This likely results from a pet’s presence helping reduce stress. Even when things are going wrong in your life, you will always have the unconditional love of your pet to keep you feeling stress-free.

Improves mood

Similar to lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, a pet’s presence and unconditional love reduces feelings of depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Pets love their owners no matter their financial status, gender, or mood, and always make their owners feel loved and important. Coming home to an excited dog or snuggling with a purring cat is sure to improve a sad or lonely mood.

Prevents allergies

Studies have found that in households where children are exposed to pets and pet fur, the children are less likely to develop allergies later on. Similar studies have shown that having a pet in the home may also help improve the immune system.

Opportunities for exercise

Dogs are extremely active creatures, and medium and larger-sized dogs need to get their exercise. While it may not seem like exercise, taking your dog on a walk every day actually gives you a lot of opportunity for exercise. Even playing fetch and running around at the dog park is a good way to get in some exercise for you and your dog. And since you’ll be with your beloved pet, it won’t even feel like work!

Helps people socialize

Most people love animals, so you and your dog are likely to be stopped multiple times during your walks by people who want to pet him or ask what breed and how old he is. Dog parks are also great places to socialize. Dogs are social animals who will probably go up to multiple other dogs, giving their owners a chance to talk and get to know each other. Even owning a cat (who probably doesn’t go out for many walks!) can provide opportunities to socialize; if you meet a fellow cat lover, talking about your sweet cat at home is the perfect icebreaker.