Owning a pet can be one of the best things you can do to improve your health. (And it's fun!)

A dog's need for daily walks can be a great motivator when it comes to getting more exercise. A pet can help reduce anxiety and it requires your attention. Playing with a dog, cat or other pet can help switch your focus and help make your daily problems seem not so large.

Pets are also a source of physical contact and comfort and may help decrease loneliness and depression, according to the National Institutes of Health. Companionship, physical contact, increased fitness, entertainment, love… A pet can provide all of that and more.

Dogs, in particular, can also improve your health by improving your social life and getting you out of the house to interact with friends and neighbors at the local dog park, at a dog-training class or at a dog-friendly outdoor café.

Consider adopting a furry friend. You’ll greatly improve an animal's life — and your own!