Health Benefits on Having a Pet

My dogs, Lucy and Allie, are great friends.   I truly feel their love after a long, hard day.

“The old thinking was that if your family had a pet, the children were more likely to become allergic to the pet. And if you came from an allergy-prone family, pets should be avoided,” says researcher James E. Gern, MD, a pediatrician at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

However, a growing number of studies have suggested that kids growing up in a home with “furred animals” — whether it’s a pet cat or dog, or on a farm and exposed to large animals — will have less risk of allergies and asthma, he tells WebMD.

Dogs are great for making love connections. Forget Internet matchmaking — a dog is a natural conversation starter.

This especially helps ease people out of social isolation or shyness, Nadine Kaslow, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University in Atlanta, tells WebMD.

“Studies have shown that Alzheimer’s patients have fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home,” says Lynette Hart, PhD, associate professor at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

“Their caregivers also feel less burdened when there is a pet, particularly if it is a cat, which generally requires less care than a dog,” says Hart.

Pet owners with AIDS are far less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets. “The benefit is especially pronounced when people are strongly attached to their pets,” says researcher Judith Siegel, PhD.

In one study, stockbrokers with high blood pressure who adopted a cat or dog had lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations than did people without pets.

Heart attack patients who have pets survive longer than those without, according to several studies. Male pet owners have less sign of heart disease — lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels — than non-owners, researchers say.

Personally, I have only been without a pet while I served in the Army.  I can’t imagine not having a dog; I like cats, too, but prefer dogs, because they are more loving and obedient than cats.  If you are thinking about getting a pet, I say to go for it!  You will have a great addition to your family.  Lucy, my Belgian Malinois, is my jogging buddy!

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