Pets Improve Physical and Emotional Health

Every pet owner knows the sheer joy of coming home to a dog or cat that loves you unconditionally, and new research reveals that there are concrete health and emotional benefits that come from human-animal interaction.

After looking at several different studies, researchers found that pet owners are more likely to make new friends, and that interaction with dogs can improve the mental and physical health of people with dementia, according to Chicago CBS affiliate WBBM.

Pets not only brighten people's days, but they can also improve their views of their own communities. Additional studies have shown that owning a pet can reduce stress, lower cholesterol and improve the recovery process after a heart attack or stroke.

Dr. Sandra McCune, scientific leader of human-animal interaction at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, who presented the researchers' findings at a conference in Chicago, said having a pet may even reduce your medical bills.

"People who are pet owners generally go to the doctor about 15-to-20 percent less often than other people," she told the source. "And that's been shown in several different countries – Australia, Germany, Canada and China. So there is a real cost savings to the nation."

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