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6 amazing health benefits of having a pet

Own a dog? Lucky dog and lucky you.

A study profiled in Newsweek shows you are more likely to have a healthier heart. The research showed that 42% of the 1,769 dog owners in the study were more likely to exercise, have ideal diet and blood glucose levels, and better mental health than those who did not own a dog — in spite of the fact that the dog owners also had the highest percentage of smokers.


"In general, people who owned any pet were more likely to report more physical activity, better diet and blood sugar at ideal levels,” researcher Andrea Maugeri concluded.

The study was done in the Czech Republic, but the American Heart Association (AHA) has also declared that having a pet, particularly a dog, may reduce your risk of heart disease.

More than 36% of Americans share their homes with a dog, and 30% percent with a cat.

People with dogs engaged in more walking and more physical activity and were 54% more likely to get the recommended level of physical activity, the AHA reported. For that reason, pet ownership is associated with a reduction in heart disease risk factors and increased survival rates among patients.

All pets have a positive effect on your body’s reaction to stress, including a decrease in heart rate, blood pressure and an adrenaline-like hormone that is released when your pet is present.

Another benefit of owning a pet is a pet’s ability to reduce allergies. Research has shown that the more pets infants are exposed to early in life, the lower their risk of allergies, wheezing and atopic dermatitis.

With better health at the top of the list, here are five other distinct gifts your pets can offer:

  1. Better mental and physical health for you and your family
  2. Connection — Your pets offer unconditional connectedness no matter how bad you feel or behave.
  3. Communication —You are probably aware that your pets speak to you constantly through their body language and behavior. Pet owners learn the language their pets speak and are able to communicate with them. When communication is untrustworthy or used in harmful ways, the relationship breaks down.
  4. Living “in the moment” — Humans tend to spend a lot of time feeling regret for something in their past or feeling anxious about the future. Your pets, on the other hand, stay present and live for today. Therefore, you are more likely to follow their lead and experience each moment as it arrives with enthusiasm and joy.
  5. Forgiveness — Most of us can remember a time when we ignored our pet, or lost patience and spoke too sharply. Pets don't hold grudges. They offer instant forgiveness and an open heart.
  6. A balanced life — Your pets are at their best when provided with consistency in the form of healthy nourishment, daily exercise, structure to their daily routine and lots of love — simple things that are the foundation for a balanced, less stressful, more joyful existence for pet owners, as well.
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