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It’s More Than Puppy Love

July 14, 2016

Expert’s Perspective

Animal Companions Can Be Good For Our Health

PETS-Berla-with-MinaResidents Leslie Glassberg and Mike and Nancy Berla can’t imagine life without their animal companions. Glassberg’s dog, Bailey, gets her up and out for their early morning walks. And the Berlas’ cat, Mina, cuddles with them at night.

But living with companion animals is more than fun. Studies show that sharing our homes with dogs or cats is good for our health. Did you know…

  • Living with a dog or cat can reduce the risk of heart attack. The University of Minnesota’s Stroke Research Center followed 4,435 people between the ages of 30-75. Over a 20-year period, they found that participants who had never owned a dog or cat were 40 percent more likely to die from a heart attack and 30 percent were more likely to die from any kind of cardiovascular disease.


  • Dogs and cats can lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Researchers measured the blood pressure, plasma cholesterol and triglyceride values in 5741 people who attended a free screening clinic at the Baker Medical Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia. People with companion animals had significantly lower systolic blood pressure and plasma triglycerides than people who didn’t, although their lifestyles were similar.


  • Dogs and cats keep us moving. We need to feed them, walk our dogs and scoop the cats’ litter boxes, no matter how lazy we’re feeling. Playing and brushing are also active pursuits that both humans and animals enjoy.


  • Animals add some routine and structure to our days. They never let us forget when it’s breakfast and dinnertime!


  • Cats and dogs make us laugh, and sometimes laughter is the best medicine.




“Our cats have always benefitted my mental health. We love them and they return our love. And I’ve found that, when I get anxious about something, the best way to overcome the anxiety is to sit with a cat on my lap and listen to it purr. Never found a better cure!”

— Mike Berla

‘There’s something special about going out early on a lovely summer morning for the first walk and enjoying a beautiful moonlight night on the last walk with Bailey. He’s not cuddly, but he’s very friendly and a grand companion.’

— Leslie Glassberg