First: Pets make you feel better about yourself. Researchers at Miami University in Ohio asked volunteers to take a personality inventory and found that pet owners were more conscientious and had more self-esteem than non-pet owners.
Next: Animals improve your social life. Nadine Kaslow is a clinical psychologist at Emory University and she says that owning a pet reduces feelings of social anxiety and shyness.
Another benefit of having a pet: They improve your health. University of Wisconsin researchers examined the blood chemistry of children. Those who lived in households without pets had fewer markers of a strong immune system and were almost twice as likely to develop allergies. Also, owning a pet has been shown to lower blood pressure and raise levels of the brain’s feel-good chemicals dopamine and serotonin.
And finally: Pets make you look better, too. A National Institute of Health study found that dog owners are more physically fit and less likely to be obese than people who don’t own dogs.