Are Dogs Better For Your Health Than Cats?

As any pet lover can tell you, pets make you feel good. And in fact, studies have shown that pet owners tend to be healthier, in general, than those without a cuddly (or even not-so-cuddly) four-legged pal in their home. But one study suggests that the health benefits of owning a dog outweigh those of owning a cat.

A psychologist from Queen’s University, Belfast, said dog owners tended to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Writing in the British Journal of Health Psychology, she says that regular walks may partly explain the difference. Taking care of a dog can often leads to increases in physical activity and facilitates the development of social contacts, which may enhance both physiological and psychological human health.

As well as lower blood pressure and cholesterol, dog-owners suffer fewer minor ailments and serious medical problems. The precise reason for the benefits was not totally clear. The main hypothesis is that dogs’ directly promote our well-being by buffering us from stress, one of the major risk factors associated with ill-health.

However, cat owners, don’t feel left out! Researchers looked at nearly 4,500 adults and found that cat ownership was related to a 40 percent lower risk of suffering a fatal heart attack. The team speculated that having a cat may reduce stress and anxiety, and thus protect against cardiovascular disease.

Now I’m wondering, what about my hamster?

By Melissa Breyer, Senior Editor, Healthy & Green Living

130 comments

Dale Overall

Many of the cats that have owned me enjoyed going for long walks when living on a 100 acre hobby farm and stuck with me along with the dogs. Some cats really enjoy a long and tranquil walk. People with a companion animal have many health benefits especially those living alone.

One person said "better wild and free". Certainly this pertains to wild animals and while there are some who think that no human should have a companion animal in their homes most of civilization has lived with companion animals from the dawn of time. These days responsible people take care of spaying/neutering and the veterinary care. Loving care brings love in return.

Teresa is often always weighing in with a caustic comment, generally pertaining to the evils of sex...this time its "Pets give you parasites." So do some humans...not to mention athletes foot, fungus and what not but we still seek out people for companionship and don't live our lives in a glass bubble. Look after basic needs such as veterinary care and there is less risk of parasites. Some find the negative in everything.

For most, be it cat or dog or other there is joy by the responsible and caring person/family involved.

Valentina R.
Valentina R.3 years ago

They are both wonderful for our health.

Muriel Servaege
Muriel Servaege4 years ago

Maybe, but I have always adopted cats without a home and I have always loved them, so there is not much room in my house for a dog.

Joan E.
Joan Ellis4 years ago

When I have both cats and dogs at once in my home or just the one I find that they are great to wake up to and easy to take care of.I would fine life very boring with-out them!!

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers4 years ago

My cat is sensitive and comforting. I love her to bits!!

Silvija Vlahovec
Silvija Vlahovec4 years ago

Love this one: "Now I’m wondering, what about my hamster?"

Patricia W.
Patricia W.4 years ago

I'm also a person who can't type :)

Patricia W.
Patricia W.4 years ago

I love all animals but am a cat perosn through and through. I'm so glad that researchers say that having cats is good for your health, too. So are fishtanks and birds, etc...

As an animal lover, I'm a little disappointed at another dog vs cat article. Most of us don't care what the so-called experts have to say about our love for animals. All animals are wonderful.

HannahNoMail H.
Hannah H.4 years ago

Thanks!!!

Kamryn M.
Kay M.4 years ago

i think both are good--whatever you have room for. i don't like the "real age" website because it keeps saying i have to get a dog. sorry, but i don't have room for one where i live. they're seriously going to tell me i'm going to die unless i get a dog? come on.