|Stress busting and a healthy heart
Studies have shown that pet owners have measurable lower levels of cholesterol and blood pressure (where not linked to dietary changes). Interestingly, an American study found that men who own cats or dogs have lower resting heart rates and blood pressure than those who don't.
And the benefit of pet ownership isn't limited to physical well-being. A UK study exploring how pets could help recently widowed people in dealing with stress showed that three months after bereavement, pet owners showed fewer physical symptoms, such as crying, than non-pet owners. The pet owners were able to talk to their animals at a time when they felt unable to share their feelings with other people. (McNicholas and Collis 1998)