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Health benefits of pet ownership

Dogs 32 - Health benefits of pet ownership
Most pet owners have probably already heard or read somewhere that there are many health benefits associated with pet ownership. Although there is still controversy over these results, many scientific studies have been suggesting that pets can bring advantages to their owner's health.

Studies have shown that people with pets had lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels when compared to people who did not have pets, even when matched for weight, diet and smoking habits. It has been proved that pet owners will exercise more on average (even if it is just mild exercise) than people that do not have pets. This makes perfect sense given that responsible pet owners will spend time and energy caring for their pets and dog owners in particular, will take their canine friends for walks.

It has also been proved that dogs can reduce stress. Stroking a pet or simply having them in the same room can temporarily lower a person's blood pressure. Other studies suggest pet owners have a lower cardiovascular risk and among the humans that have suffered a heart attack, pet owners seem to have higher rates of survival.

There also seems to be lots of benefits for children. Studies have suggested that growing up with pets can decrease the chances of suffering from asthma, ear infections and reactions to airborne allergens.

The benefits for children don't seem to stop there. Pets can not only be a playful companion but they also play a very important role in the development of a child's personality. Pets teach children important life-skills such as taking responsibility, managing their time, sharing and caring for others. Some studies have reported that children who grow up with pets become more nurturing and empathetic adults.

More research is necessary to fully clarify these findings. One thing is certain. Pets can help their humans from a psychological perspective. Pets are excellent topics to start a conversation and pet owners find themselves sharing stories about their pets with other pet owners, without even making much effort for that to happen. Just the fact that pets can help us make friends can indirectly, help reduce our feelings of isolation, depression and enhance other positive feelings such as self-esteem and self-worth.

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Published: 22 Jul 2015

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