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5 Ways Having a Pet Can Be Good For Your Health

While pets may not improve your health directly, they can do many things for you. Living with a pet can create a purposeful routine and reduce your risk of cognitive decline. One famous hymn, “All Things Bright and Beautiful,” is often associated with the health benefits of owning a pet. Its lyrics were first published in Hymns for Little Children in 1848 and were the inspiration for James Herriot’s nonfiction series, “A Dog’s Life.”

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Playing with a pet increases endorphins and oxytocin levels in the brain, which are responsible for feelings of happiness and well-being. Research suggests that these endorphins are beneficial to those suffering from anxiety, depression, and stress. Pets can even help those suffering from mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) feel less alone and stressed. And because they’re loyal and affectionate, pets can be a source of comfort and support for those who need it most.

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Aside from helping you cope with stress and depression, owning a pet can improve your overall health. Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found a significant association between the two. Pet owners have lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglycerides than non-pet owners. In addition, their pets have been associated with a reduction in the risk of heart attacks.

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