Psoriasis: 8 Surprising Health Benefits of Pet Ownership for Psoriasis

Reviewed on 9/15/2021

Pets and Psoriasis: Health Benefits

Owning a pet may help you manage psoriasis.

Can having a pet help you manage your life with psoriasis? Furry friends have some surprising benefits for your health. Find out why pet ownership is good for your body and soul.

Pets Keep You Active

If you own a dog, you will walk them and that helps lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Dogs need daily walks, so their owners get regular physical activity too. Psoriasis increases your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. But exercise lowers that risk and helps you manage your weight. Staying at a healthy weight actually helps prevent psoriasis flare-ups.

Ease Stress and Psoriasis Symptoms

Pets help lower stress, which reduces inflammation.

Just being around any type of animal can reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in your body. Stress is a common trigger for psoriasis flares. It's thought to lead to inflammation in your body. When you relax, your psoriasis symptoms often improve.

Boost Your Body Image

Owning a pet increases your self esteem and helps boost your body image.

Psoriasis can hurt your self-esteem when skin outbreaks make you feel less attractive. How can pets help? Research shows that pet owners have higher self-esteem than petless people. One study even found that dog owners were seen as more attractive on the dating scene.

Lower Your Blood Pressure

Owning a pet may help keep your blood pressure lower.

Having a pet can actually lower your blood pressure, even in times of stress. High blood pressure is common in people with psoriasis. And outbreaks tend to be worse when you have both conditions. Some studies have shown that pet owners tend to have lower blood pressure than people without pets -- even when their body mass indexes (BMIs) are similar.

Get a Little Sun

Another benefit of walking a dog is that you get sun exposure, which helps clear your psoriasis.

Each time you take your dog for a walk, it's a chance to get some sun on your skin. Gradual, regular sun exposure can improve scaly psoriasis. The sun's UVB rays help clear patches of psoriasis, as long as they aren't too thick. But on long walks, cover up or apply sunscreen. A sunburn could make your psoriasis worse.

Get Better Sleep

Having a pet in your bedroom with you may help you sleep better.

The pain and itching of psoriasis can wreak havoc on your sleep. But sleeping with a pet in the room could help you snooze. One study showed that people whose dog snoozed nearby had better-quality sleep -- as long as the pooch wasn't on the bed with them.

Improve Depression

Owning pets can help alleviate depression.

Psoriasis and depression often are linked. Skin outbreaks can affect your social and sex lives and bring down your mood. And the inflammation that causes psoriasis flares also plays a role in depression. Pet ownership helps you fight depression. Your pet provides constant companionship, adds structure to your day, and gives you a sense of purpose.

Cut Your Risk of Stroke

Owning a cat cuts your risk of stroke by more than a third.

Psoriasis causes inflammation in your body that doesn't just affect your skin, but your blood vessels, too. That's why psoriasis raises your risk of stroke. But pet ownership is linked to a lower risk of stroke. In fact, owning a cat appears to cut your stroke risk by more than a third. One theory is that the stress relief from petting a cat helps protect you.

Psoriasis: 8 Surprising Health Benefits of Pet Ownership for Psoriasis

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