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Surprising Health Benefits for Pet Owners

Did you know that there are key health benefits that canresult from owning a pet? Having one can enhance yourphysical, mental and social wellbeing.

1. How can a pet help your physical health?

Owning a dog, for instance, will encourage you to get moreexercise. With your faithful friend at your side, you'remuch more likely to go for a walk. Walking is one of thebest health activities you can do. While walking you'realso more likely to socially interact with your neighborsbecause your special pal often acts as an ice-breaker.

Research led by Dr. Karen Allen at the State University ofNew York at Buffalo shows that pets can help lower bloodpressure. Stockbrokers with high blood pressure werestudied to see what happened when they adopted a pet dog orcat. Researchers concluded that having a pet nearby helpscontrol increases in blood pressure due to stress.

In his studies Alan Beck, ScD (Professor of Animal Ecology,Purdue University) found that the simple act of pettingyour dog slows your heart rate and causes your bloodpressure to drop.

An added health advantage from pet ownership is thatpatients may live longer after heart attacks. Some doctorsrecommend that a heart attack survivor adopt a dog becauseresearch has shown that a faithful canine companion canhelp prolong an owner's life.

2. How Can A Pet Improve Your Mental Health?

Sharing your life with a cat may help your mental health. Astudy conducted at Australia's University of New Englandfound that people who own feline friends may experiencefewer psychiatric disturbances than those without cats.

Pets can help their owners overcome depression throughtheir companionship and unconditional love. They seem topossess the natural ability to help you relax and enjoylife more.

Pets can also help when you experience times of loneliness.English poet, Alexander Pope, has stated that histories aremore full of examples of the fidelity of dogs than offriends. According to a Chinese proverb, dogs have so manyfriends because they wag their tails, not their tongues.

When you take care of a pet you have to develop a routineof getting out, buying food and providing exercise. Thiscan help fight off depression and loneliness. The simpleresponsiblity of pet care can help you get your mind offyourself and your problems.

3. How can a pet enhance your wellbeing in the area ofrelationships?

American Animal Hospital Association President, LinkWellborn, believes that pets are more than just a member ofthe family - they're central to a healthy lifestyle.

Pets help lessen tension between family members and add alot of fun and unconditional love to the homes where theylive. When pets do cute and funny things - which they oftendo - family members react by laughing and being morerelaxed.

If you don't have a pet yet, consider making one part ofyour family, but make sure you have the time and resourcesnecessary to provide a stable loving home for your newfriend.

If you choose a dog as your new pal, remember this wise oldsaying. "A dog is man's best friend." That's true in moreways than one. You'll get unconditional love,companionship, loyalty and relaxation in return for yourinvestment of time and material resources.

What a bargain!

Patricia Wagner offers informative tips and a f^ree newsletterto help you live a more more energetic lifestyle. Check out She is also an artist and you can view her original paintings at

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