If you’ve ever lived with pain from injuries or illnesses, you know all too well the negative effect it can have on various aspects of your life. While most people believe the only way to overcome this is by having a constant stream of medical treatments, current research has shown owning a pet can play a big part in reducing our pain and keeping us quite healthy. If you’re ready to have a dramatic improvement in your overall health, here are some of the most intriguing ways pets can make this happen.

Whether it’s a senior citizen in a nursing home or a patient recovering from surgery in a hospital, pets can help tremendously in reducing a person’s anxiety and stress. According to research, having pets around during these tough times helps reduce levels of cortisol, the hormone we release when under stress.

Along with reducing our stress levels, pets can also help those in hospitals feel less pain. When patients who were recovering from surgery or other procedures participated in animal-assisted therapy, they not only had far less physical pain, but also had lower respiratory rates, lower blood pressures, stable heart rates, and far less depression that patients not participating in animal-assisted therapy.

And in an unusual twist, animal-assisted therapy has been found to help not just patients, but also their families. In numerous studies, researchers found when therapy dogs were present in a hospital room or waiting room, families and friends experienced less emotional distress, less depression, and also felt much more optimistic about their loved one’s recovery. And in a related instance, patients sitting in waiting rooms at a doctor’s office also felt far less anxiety and stress while waiting to see their doctor.

While it’s clear pets offer numerous benefits to those who are feeling bad physically, research indicates there are many more ways pets make us healthy in addition to those discussed above. Whether you’re a patient or a loved one, if you’d like to learn more about how our pets do their best to keep us feeling good, take a close look at CATOLOGICAL.COM

Infographic: CATOLOGICAL.COM