Explore Many Health Benefits Of Owning A Pet




The holidays are upon us. This is the time of year when families get together to love, laugh and create new memories. Family dinners, gift exchanges and many other traditions take place.

While we are enjoying ourselves and spending time with our family, some us also experience sadness for the loved ones that are no longer with us. It can be rough, but we can get through by surrounding ourselves with family, both two-legged and four. I speak from personal experience by saying that having an animal around to cheer me up when things get rough and I’m feeling sad, really does help. When you have that bond with an animal, they know you are sad and it almost seems like they make it their mission to see you smile.

Not only do pets make you feel better, there are also many health benefits to having an animal. So if you don’t have one, read below to see why you should. Then, when you’re ready, come down to the Humane Society of Central Arizona and we will help you find your new best friend. Plus, it helps get another animal out of the shelter and into a home, not only for the holidays, but for the rest of their life.

Decreases stress

In a 2002 study at State University of New York at Buffalo, researchers found that when conducting a stressful task, people experienced less stress when their pets were with them than when a spouse, family member or close friend was nearby. Not only do studies prove that pets help relieve stress, so do current pet owners. Many of our staff and volunteers have pets of their own. After a long stressful day, they find relief in spending time with their pet, whether it is a nice, long walk, curling up with a book and their pet, or playing with their companion.

Lowers blood pressure

Did you know that the act of speaking increases blood pressure? One of the advantages of having pets is that they don’t talk! Pets don’t judge us; they just love us unconditionally. Focusing on something like a pet is effective in decreasing elevated blood pressure.

Lowers cholesterol

People who own pets — men, in particular —have significantly lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels than those who don’t have pets.

Improves mood

A lot of the health benefits of owning a pet may stem from the mental and emotional benefits. This is a primary reason pets are used in various forms of therapy. Plus, how can you not be in a good mood when you get home from work and there’s your pet, dancing around, excited to see you.

Helps people socialize

Taking your dog to the dog park, obedience training or group hikes is a great way to make new friends. You’ll already have something in common too, the love of dogs!

Prevents strokes

Felines are just as beneficial to your health as dogs. If you have a cat, you’re 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack, and you’re 40 percent less likely to have a cardiovascular incident like a stroke. In addition, pets can aid in the recovery from a heart attack.

Helps children develop

Children who grow up in a household with pets benefit in many ways, especially in their emotional development. Pets are also hugely beneficial to children suffering from autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). For children with ADHD, taking care of a pet can encourage them to focus on responsibilities through a predictable routine. While the sensory experience of holding and petting an animal can be soothing for children with autism.

Adoptable pets

Here are just a few of the wonderful pets currently available for adoption at the HSCAZ shelter, located at 605 W. Wilson Court (just south of Main Street), open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. These pets have been spayed or neutered and are up to date on their vaccinations. For more information, visit our Web site at www.humanesocietycentralaz.org or call (928) 474-5590.

If you cannot adopt, please consider a donation for the animals in our care — mail your check to HSCAZ, P.O. Box 242, Payson, AZ 85547; or visit Arizona State Credit Union, 104 E. Highway 260, and pick a tag off the Christmas Angel Tree, purchase a gift for one of our pets and return it to the credit union by noon Dec. 24th.


Bags is a 10-month-old, black and white male kitty. He gets along great with other cats and children of all ages. Bags is playful and loves toys like fake mice and jingle balls. If you’re looking for an affectionate kitty that will get along with everyone in your home, Bags is the cat for you.


Calypso is a 3-month-old beauty. Her unique markings and gorgeous eyes match her loving and outgoing personality. Calypso is friendly with other cats and loves to play. Since she is still a kitten, she has loads of energy and loves to zip around the room, playing with anything that is in her way.


Check out Fatty’s photo on this page. Is this not one of the cutest pictures you’ve ever seen? This is typically how you will see Fatty when you come by HSCAZ, with a toy in his mouth. He loves his stuffy toys! Fatty has lived with other dogs, cats and older children. He is playful and outgoing, but also enjoys quiet time too.


Howie is an adorable, 3-month-old kitten. He is one of the most outgoing and playful kittens we have right now. He gets along with other cats and is good with kids too. If you are looking for a spunky kitty to play with and love on, Howie is definitely the baby for you.


Levin is a sweet, 5-month-old female black cat. She is pretty easygoing and sweet. She gets along very well with other cats, and has lived with dogs and older kids. She does like to play around a little, but she really enjoys lying in your lap so you can pet and love on her.


Nick is an active 1-year-old Chihuahua mix. He loves to run and play! He gets along well with other dogs and is good with kids too. Nick would make a great hiking or jogging companion, or would be great for a family that has another active, small dog.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.