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More Evidence Pets Lower Stress

      If you want to reduce your blood pressure, a furry, four-legged creature may be just what the doctor would prescribe.
      A new study from the University of Buffalo in New York adds to the mounting evidence that pets can be good for health. Researchers studied 48 male and female stockbrokers who had no medical conditions other than hypertension, who lived alone and did not have a pet in the previous five years. Half the stockbrockers were assigned to take home a cat or dog, while the half remained alone.
      Six months later, researchers found the stockbrokers caring for a pet had significantly lower blood pressure than those without pets. "When we told the group that didn't have pets about the findings, many went out and got [pets]," says researcher Karen Allen. "This study shows that if you have high blood pressure, a pet is very good for you when you're under stress, and pet ownership is especially good for you if you have a limited support system."
      Research has shown positive interaction with a pet can have a calming influence on people's physical and mental states. Other studies show that elderly people caring for a pet improve their overall health compared to their peers living without animals in the home. If you don't want a furry companion in your house, researchers say taking care of a fish aquarium also is beneficial — and watching fish has a calming effect on people.

Other research has correlated pet ownership with the following health benefits:

  • Lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Better psychological health
  • Lower heart attack rates
  • Higher survival rates following coronary heart disease
  • Enhanced self-esteem and social interaction

Reference Source 39,63

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