The Heart-Warming Health Benefits of Having a Pet

Chelsea Miller is a model, fitness junkie, and advocate for changing the way we talk about health and curvy bodies. She writes about working out, health, her skincare obsessions, and more on her blog, Watch Her Glow, and we’re thrilled to have her as a contributor for THE/THIRTY. This month, she talks about the many ways life as a dog owner has improved her overall wellbeing.

My guess is that if you own a pet, you won’t be surprised to hear that more and more evidence is mounting to suggest that having pets has both psychological and physical benefits to your health. So if you’re on the fence about the responsibilities that come along with having a furry friend, maybe the added health benefits will help you make that decision.

There are studies that have proven pets help lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, and that they help to promote outdoor activities and opportunities for socialization. These are just some of the benefits, and there are many more that may be a bit more difficult to quantitatively measure. Many say that their pets keep their mood elevated, help with depression and stress relief, and boost self-esteem. I mean—need I even continue? Pets are amazing.

I grew up in a house of all kinds of pets—I’ve owned everything from snakes and lizards to bunnies and rats. But the animals that I hold closest to my heart are my two pit bulls. If I’m having an off day, feeling down or stressed, I know I can count on them to love me unconditionally and not ask any questions. There isn’t much in this world that can make me smile the way they do. They are always so happy to see me and they are the biggest goofballs I know.

But aside from them making me happy and giving me a sense of responsibility, I know that they also help keep me physically healthy. In fact, just this morning, before I knew that I’d be writing about them, I vowed to make sure I take them on a walk every single morning on my days off. I told myself and everyone following me on Instagram that if I couldn’t get myself to do it for me, then I’d do it for my dogs. They enjoy walking so much, and I believe it’s also beneficial for both their physical and mental health as well. They are keeping me accountable and they don’t even know it!