Health: How pets help
Ellen Tomson, Pioneer Press

Call it pet power: Worldwide research indicates pets help their owners' health.

People with hypertension who have adopted a dog or cat have lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations than those who do not adopt.

Walking a pet helps soothe nerves and relax pet owners, especially men.

The companionship of a pet helps prevent heart disease because owners gain greater psychological stability.

Pet owners make fewer doctor visits, lowering health care costs, especially for nonserious medical conditions.

The likelihood of depression and feelings of loneliness is lower for pet owners. Older people facing adversity or trauma gain a sense of security from the affection and bonding behavior of pets.

Sources: Dr. Karen Allen, State University of New York at Buffalo; Josephine Wills, Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, United Kingdom; (U.S.) National Institute of Health, Technology Assessment Workshop: Health Benefits of Pets; and "Between Pets and People: The Importance of Animal Companionship" by Alan Beck and Aaron Katcher. (Original Story..)

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