Want to know the secret to good health? It’s as simple as snuggling up to your pet. We recently talked about a new study from the CDC that found sleeping with pets can harm your health, and put you at risk of catching dangerous infections and diseases. Like the recent case of one 9-year-old Arizona boy who became infected with deadly bubonic plague while sharing a bed with the family cat. Veterinarians everywhere are firing back. They say sharing a bed with your pet doesn’t put you at any more risk than normal daily contact, like sharing the living room couch. Plus, vets say the health benefits of cozying up to your pet drastically outweigh the risks. How?
- Pets lower stress. One study found that stockbrokers - who traditionally have sky-high blood pressure - had lower blood pressure in stressful situations if they had recently adopted a cat or dog.
- Another health benefit of sleeping with your pet: They make you feel positive. Experts say simply brushing up against your pet raises levels of the feel-good chemical oxytocin. So, you’re less likely to feel anxious, alone, or depressed.
- Finally, pets boost your immune system. One study found that infants who lived with dogs and cats had stronger immune systems than infants who didn’t have pets. Experts say it’s because living with animals provides greater exposure to dirt and allergens, which pumps up your immune system.
- Plus, animals help more than humans when it comes to recuperating from an illness or injury. A study at UCLA found that when heart patients were visited by a therapy dog, they were 25% less anxious, and their stress hormones fell by 20%. However, when patients were visited by people, their anxiety levels only dropped 10%, and their stress hormone levels hardly decreased at all!