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If you have pets you know the joy and love they bring to your life. Now research is confirming just how good they really are for you — both mentally and physically. One theory is that pets boost our oxytocin levels. Also known as the “bonding hormone”.Studies have shown that the bond between people and their pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to their owners. Some of the health benefits of having a pet include:
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Pets make you less lonely:
Loneliness has been associated with heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other negative outcomes, but older adults who owned pets were 36 percent less likely to say they were lonely than those who didn’t have a pet, according to a study published in Aging & Mental Health.
Dampen depression and boosts mood:
Pets their creature camaraderie and ability to keep us engaged in daily life (via endearing demands for food, attention, and walks) are good recipes for warding off the blues. Animal-assisted therapy is proving particularly potent in deterring depression and other mood disorders.
Fight cancer:
Animal-assisted therapy helps cancer patients heal emotionally and physically. Preliminary findings of a clinical trial by the American Humane Association shows that therapy dogs not only erase loneliness, depression, and stress in kids fighting cancer, but canines can also motivate them to eat and follow treatment recommendations.
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Pets alleviate allergies and boost immune function:
Living with a pet as a child also revs up your immune system. In fact, just a brief pet encounter can invigorate your disease-defense system. Living with a dog or cat during the first year of life not only cuts your chances of having pet allergies in childhood and later on but also lowers your risk of asthma. A new 2017 study found that newborns that live with cats have a lower risk of childhood asthma, pneumonia, and bronchiolitis.
Keep you fit and active:
Of course, your pup needs walks, but that stroll is good for your health too. Health experts recommend that adults get about 2 hours and 30 minutes worth of moderate exercise per week. Dog owners are way more likely to hit that goal.  A study in the journal Gerontologist found that older adults who walked dogs experienced “lower body mass index, fewer activities of daily living limitations, fewer doctor visits, and more frequent moderate and vigorous exercise.”
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Reduce stress
Spending just a few minutes with a pet can lower anxiety and blood pressure and increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, two neurochemicals that play big roles in calm and wellbeing. People performing stressful tasks do better when there is a pet around.

Article By: Dr. Himani

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