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They are included on our holiday card, we snuggle with them in our bed, and even make an excuse to go through the Dairy Queen drive-thru so “they” can get a treat (maybe that’s just me.)  Americans love their pets and treat them like family members. According to APPA (American Pet Products Association), pet owners in the U.S. spent 66.75 billion dollars on their pets in 2016. Now that’s a lot of money!

We take good care of our pets, but do you ever think about what pets do for us?

Research suggests that having a pet can improve our overall health. Our pets do much more than provide us with unconditional love.

Keep us physically active.

Dog owners can relate – Fido needs his exercise. Whether you’re out for walk or playing Frisbee at the park, you are getting active.

We all know that exercise is important for controlling your weight, for heart health and can cutting your risk for diseases like diabetes. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of activity per day at least 5 days per week, it’s fairly easy to make that happen when you have a dog.

Reduce stress levels.

We live in a high stress society with 75% to 90% of all doctor’s office visits being related to stress.

If you have a bad day or are dealing with any type of grief or sadness, pets have this natural ability to calm, relax, and de-stress us.  We know we can count on them to give us companionship and love no matter what the circumstance. Reducing stress in your everyday life is important for maintaining your overall health.

Researchers have found that children that grow up on a farm or in a home with a dog or cat are less likely to develop allergies down the road.

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Keep us socially connected.

Who doesn’t like talking about their pets? When you meet someone and find out you both have pets, it’s so easy to chat about your dear little Fluffy (and even bring out the pictures.) When you head out for that evening walk with your dog, it’s hard not to talk to other fellow dog walkers. If you really want to get out and meet people, take your dog to the dog park on a Saturday afternoon. It’s a puppy party!

Give us stronger immunity with fewer allergies.

Researchers have found that children that grow up on a farm or in a home with a dog or cat are less likely to develop allergies down the road. The exposure to allergens builds up the immune system which can help keep children healthy as they get older. So, maybe bringing home that kitty isn’t such a bad idea.

Great for the heart.

Owning a pet can also benefit your heart health. A study found that having a pet may reduce risk for heart disease. Not only are those dog walks great for the heart, but sitting and petting your furry friend lowers blood pressure and gives your body a sense of calmness (and your four-legged friend loves it too).

Remember, the healthier you are, the cheaper your life insurance. Wondering about how much life insurance costs? Run a term life insurance quote to find out. It’s quick, easy and no contact information is needed until you’re ready to apply. Give Spot an extra ear scratch tonight for helping you save money on your insurance premiums.

» Learn more: Daenerys and Her Dragons: Pet Trusts and Estate Planning for Your Pets


About the writer

Headshot of Jeanna Simonson, Life Insurance Marketing Content and Social Media at Quotacy, Inc. in Minneapolis. Holiday gift ideas.

Jeanna Simonson

Marketing Content and Social Media

Jeanna has a passion for letting her creativity shine. At Quotacy she manages social media, is a co-host of Quotacy's Q&A Friday YouTube channel, and enjoys writing here and there. When she's not at the office, you can find her hanging with her husband and rescue animals, brunching with girlfriends, or loving up on her nieces and nephews. Connect with her on LinkedIn.