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How owning a pet can significantly improve you health

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Most houses have at least one pet and with good reason.

There are numerous benefits to owning a pet, ranging from physical health benefits to mental health ones. Even something as small as a pet fish can affect your health and improve your life!

Researchers say that owning a pet can not only improve your mental health, but your physical health too. According to the CDC owning pets can decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels, help dispel the feeling of loneliness, increase your socialisation and increase the amount you exercise. Plus, the benefits to people with mental illness are even greater.

Furthermore, RedBarn reports that owning a pet can help allergy prevention in kids by exposing them to pet dander early in life. Additionally, Redbarn claims that heart attack victims who owned a pet lived longer than those who did not, and seniors who own pets have 30% fewer doctors visits than those who don't. 

As previously stated, people with mental illness or physical disabilities can benefit greatly from owning either a service animal or just a pet, as animals have an unfathomable effect on anxiety and depression. RedBarn reports that Alzheimer's patients who own a dog or cat have significantly less anxiety than those who don't, while Allen Beck at Purdue University claims "All people report feeling less lonely in the presence of animals - even birds. Animals are good for everyone, but particularly anxious and depressed people. For one thing, pets keep us anchored in the present and distract us from anxious or negative thoughts".

Additionally, Hope to Cope addresses a study done by Jennifer P. Wisdom, PhD, who is a research scientist at New York State Psychiatric Institute and associate professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University Medical Center. She and her colleagues surveyed 177 people with mental illness to determine what factors affect the recovery process. The results for pet owners concluded that animals boost self esteem, provide empathy, initiate social encounters, and can substitute or act as additional family members. 

Meanwhile service animals are essential for improving the lives of those who have health issues or physical disabilities. Indeed seeing and hearing dogs provide an immense amount of help for those who need them, undoubtedly improving the lives they lead. Another type of service dog is the Diabetic Alert Dog, who is typically given to diabetics who have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels. These dogs are able to save lives by alerting someone before their owners go into hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar), which can be dangerous. 

For those who think they can't own a pet because they live in a small space or can't afford to keep a dog or cat, have no fear, as the BBC claims a pet fish is just as good! According to the BBC a pet fish can deliver significant health benefits such as an increased feeling of tranquility, calm, and happiness when you are around a fish tank or aquarium. 

Ultimately it seems safe to say that having a pet, no matter the type, is a great idea as it improves both your physical and mental health. 




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