Recent studies published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, suggest that dog ownership is linked to a 21% reduction in the risk of death for people with heart disease. Those studies complement a body of literature linking dogs to good health, which is something all pet owners can be thankful for.
While the studies focused specifically on the benefits of dog ownership which included physical activity from taking the dog outside and the oxytocin, or “cuddle hormone” released when interacting with a dog, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention point out that any pet can help manage loneliness and depression by giving us companionship.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology states that “children raised with pets show many benefits. Developing positive feelings about pets can contribute to a child's self-esteem and self-confidence. Positive relationships with pets can aid in the development of trusting relationships with others. A good relationship with a pet can also help in developing non-verbal communication, compassion, and empathy.” The American Academy of Pediatrics found children who have a dog during the first year of life are reported to be healthier and have fewer respiratory infections than children without contact to these animals. Exposure to pet dander could prime babies’ still-developing immune systems so they are better able to fend off common allergens and bugs.