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Home > Health Topics > Health and Fitness > Health & Fitness: Should a Pet Be Part of Your Wellness Plan?

Health & Fitness: Should a Pet Be Part of Your Wellness Plan?

Dogs and cats are more than just pets — they’re part of the family. They enhance your life by providing utter devotion, happiness and unconditional love. But did you know that your canine and feline companions are also beneficial to your health?

They’re heart smart. Man’s best friend touches our hearts in more ways than one. Living with a pet, especially a dog, can reduce your risk of heart disease, according to the American Heart Association. Compared to non-dog owners, dog owners have lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, regardless of their diet, their body mass index or whether or not they smoke, according to a large study. Researchers don’t know why exactly, but there’s evidence that simply petting a dog lowers blood pressure.

They provide emotional support. Pet ownership can also contribute to emotional well-being. Research has shown that pets can provide comfort, promote a sense of accomplishment, relieve loneliness, increase social interactions and reduce depression. Pets can provide meaningful social support, which impacts overall well-being, according to several studies by Miami University. Their researchers found that pet owners experience increased self-esteem and happiness, and less loneliness and depression, compared to non-pet owners.

They’re a great workout partner. Taking your dog on a daily walk can help you get off the couch and get fit. Older adults get added health mileage from the miles they put in with their pooch. Seniors who walk their dog had lower body mass index, reported fewer doctor visits and engaged in more exercise and social activi-ties, according to a University of Missouri study. People who walk their dog get an average of 30 minutes more exercise per day than those who aren’t dog walkers.



Good Neighbor Pharmacy Good Neighbor Script, April 2019

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