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The health benefits of adding a pet to your home

Posted on September 4, 2013
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They may drool like an open faucet, door dash when company arrives, and counter surf for a bite of your food, but pet owners agree…we can't imagine life without our pets. 
More than 60 percent of U.S. households own a pet, and understand how an animal's unconditional love and selfless loyalty can be life changing. But not only do pets make life worth living; they also may help you live longer. Whether cat crazy or a dog adorer, studies are now showing that adding a furry friend to your family will enhance your physical well-being.
Make sure to thank them with these Union Plus discounts:


Here are some of the ways pets are good for your health.


Pets are good for maintaining blood pressure â€" Maintaining low blood pressure is important, because high blood pressure may result in health complications in the future.  In one study of 240 married couples, pet owners had lower blood pressure and lower heart rates during rest than people who did not own a pet. 

Pets promote physical fitness â€" Being active with your dog or cat is not only fun, it can also help keep you slim. A 160 lb. person walking their pet for 30 minutes will equal 189 calories burned. Doing this every day can burn the equivalence of about one-half pound per week and almost 20 pounds per year!

Pets may help lower cholesterol â€" High blood cholesterol is a primary risk factor in your chances of getting heart disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that owning a pet can decrease cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure; therefore, owning a pet can reduce your chances of heart disease. 

Pets may help reduce heart attacks â€" Overall, studies suggest that owning a pet is positively related to heart health. According to WebMD, a study conducted over 20 years showed that people who owned a cat were 40% less likely to die of a heart attack. Additionally, dog owners have a better one-year survival after a heart attack according to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health.

Pets improves mood â€" People feel less anxious, more relaxed when they have access to the physical contact and more social interaction of a loving pet. Studies suggest that this kind of happiness improves your overall health and lengthens your life. In the journal of Applied Psychology: Health and Wellbeing, more than 160 studies of human and animal subjects demonstrated a strong link between stress and poor health. 


The best way to thank your pet for keeping you healthy is to return the favor! To keep your pet healthy, make sure to provide a good diet and preventative health care. Union members can save with the exclusive union member discounts on Pet Insurance, Veterinarian Services, Pet Food, Medication and Supplies from Union Plus.

BONUS: From June 10 to August 8, 2013, union members submitted pictures of their pets to win big for their favorite little pal. Check out these "proud to be union" pets, and make sure to save at UnionPlus.org/Pets!


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