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Pet Ownership:
It’s Good for Your Health

Chances are, you’ll live longer and feel better if you own a pet. Medical studies on the human-animal bond reveal that pet owners are more likely to have reduced stress levels, cholesterol levels and blood pressure. They also experience fewer heart attacks than people without pets. Researchers have found that the mere presence of an animal has a beneficial effect on heart function, and stroking and talking to a pet reduces blood pressure and stress.

Many hospitals and retirement homes engage in animal therapy. This may involve visits from volunteer animals or a pet that is kept at the facility. Seniors with pets are much less lonely than non-pet owners. Consequently, they do not make unnecessary visits to their doctor out of loneliness.

A study of women undergoing stress tests demonstrated that the presence of a dog had a greater effect on lowering blood pressure than the presence of friends.

Companion animals also provide psychological benefits. Pets are sympathetic, supportive and non-judgemental listeners. Pets provide us with a distraction from our worries; they encourage social interaction and provide a soothing presence. Health benefits are simply one more reason for adopting a pet. Pets make wonderful, loving companions. Consider adding a pet to your household. Your veterinarian can help you research the best pet for your family.

This information is from the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association.