If you have a pet you know the joys of animal companionship, but did you know that Fido is also helping to keep you healthy? In a collaborative research paper presented in Glasgow, researchers stated that pet owners had 15% – 20% fewer visits to the doctor than those without an animal companion.

In 1995 researchers from Baker Medical Research Institute estimated that pet ownership reduced public health costs by 790 million to 1.5 billion dollars. This is due to a culmination of the numerous health benefits that come from living with an animal companion:

– Heart attack victims who live with a pet have a 22% greater chance of survival.

– Having a pet lowers your blood pressure as much as eating a low-sodium diet and also decreases triglyceride levels.

– Nursing homes that utilize animal therapy are able to significantly reduce their use of prescription drugs and over-all medical costs.

– Pets have been shown to reduce anxiety levels by 24%.

– Having a pet helps to alleviate depression and increases feelings of empathy and belonging.

Our relationship with domestic animals is believed to be 14,000 years old. Dogs, and later cats, lived with us in a mutually beneficial relationship, much as they do today. It is only now that we are beginning to realize the extent to which they contribute to our well-being.

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”– Roger Caras

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