Even medics agree having a pet is good for you

An article looking at how keeping a pet has positive physical benefits for your health. More and more research is showing that owing a pet can reduce all sorts of ailments you may be experiencing.

After a long and stressful day at work it can often bring a smile to your face to be greeted as you open the front door by your cat or dog. Your cat may start purring and rubbing his fur against your legs and your dog may just wag his tail hard enough for his whole body to wiggle too. Whether you are a Swedish pet owner who loves their hund, an English pet owner who adores their cat or a Dutch owner who loves their rabbit, the love an owner can feel for their pets is almost as palpable as their love for their children. In many cases of older adults, keeping pets maintains a family feel at home long after their children have left home. Here we look at some of the medical benefits of keeping a pet:

1. Lower blood pressureSimply stroking and petting an animal, even looking at an aquarium, has been shown to lower blood pressure. Lower blood pressure leads to a much lower likelihood of cardio vascular diseases too. A recent US study of stockbrokers suffering from hypertension showed those who adopted a cat or dog ended up with lower blood pressure than those who simply took hypertension medication.

2. Lower risk of allergies and eczemaHaving exposure to pets during infancy has been proven to reduce the likelihood of eczema, allergies and asthma in later childhood and adulthood. Even before birth, the mother's exposure to pets cause her to have lower allergic antibody production and this has been shown to pass through to the umbilical cord in the womb.

3. Stronger heartRecent studies in this area show that if you have owned a cat over the course of your lifetime you are a third less likely to die of a heart attack than someone who has never owned a cat. Heart attack survivors have also been shown to have a much reduced risk of suffering another heart attack if they own a dog or cat after the first heart attack.

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