There’s a popular post being shared on the internet about how a six-year-old boy explained why dogs don’t live as long as their human counterparts. When young Shane was told his beloved dog was diagnosed with cancer and contemplating the thought of a lesser life span for canines, the lad offered this heartwarming response: “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life – like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?”

The little six-year-old continued, “Well dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.” The youngster brings up an important point about people living a good life, and that’s exactly what occurs for the majority of pet parents, they lead better and healthier lives.

Little Boy and Dog on Mountain

#1 – Getting More Exercise

According to a Harvard Medical School publication, having a dog is likely your heart’s best friend as well and will greatly reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases in their parents. Studies have shown that people with canine companions who regularly walk their dogs are far less likely to be overweight or obese when compared to their petless peers.

#2 – Psychologically Speaking

A paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that the relationship that people enjoy with their pets doesn’t replace those they have with other people, but rather complement them. They also revealed that people with pets are less likely to feel lonely and have higher levels of self-esteem than those without.

#3 – Pets In The Workplace

In a similar report from the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, people who bring their pets to work have increased morale and cooperate with fellow employees more efficiently. Even simply having a pet in an office or other working environment has shown to reduce perceived levels of stress for workers.

#4 – Animals In The Classroom

According to Dr. Alan Beck, a director at the Center for Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University, having a pet offers many rewards for adults including a better overall mood, reduced stress levels and an increased amount of social connections. He also points to research that has found children relate better to those afflicted with autism when there is an animal present in the classroom. Beck stated, “Animals change the classroom environment and help to integrate those who are a little less typical.”

#5 – Infant Immunity

Researchers suspect that infant children who are exposed to animals at these younger ages are building up a tolerance towards pet-allergens like dander and bacteria. Their studies have shown that infants born in environments with dogs and/or cats are half as likely to develop allergies later in life. Apparently being exposed to animals after the first year of life seems to make no difference.

Mom, Baby and Puppy on Bed

#6 – Cat Comforts

For feline lovers, investigators have found that the effects of purring can result in better bone and muscle health. A cat’s purr maintains a consistent pattern while they are inhaling and exhaling producing a sound frequency of between 25 and 150 hertz. Sound frequencies in this range can improve bone density and promote healing. They are also helpful with muscle, tendon and ligament injuries along with muscle strengthening.

Having your four-legged friend with you at school, home or work will give you a richer, happier and longer life according to these sources. But for animal lovers, we’re already aware of the many joys that come with the unconditional love of our pets.

Thank you to Amber Kingsley for this guest post!

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