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How Your Pet Can Make You Healthy: 5 Ways Your Cat Or Dog Can Make You Live Longer

Oct. 9 2023, Published 4:46 p.m. ET

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Just in case you need an excuse to adopt a dog, cat or other pet — they can make you healthier! Here are five ways your pet could help you live longer.

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1. Pet pain away.

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“Petting your animal releases endorphins, and they’re powerful pain relievers,” says Rebecca A. Johnson, Ph.D., of the University of Missouri’s Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction. And Loyola Chicago researchers found that joint replacement surgery patients used less pain medication when they received pet therapy.

2. Get heart healthy.

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Studies say heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those without them. Health benefits from pets include decreased blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels.

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3. Start a new leash on life.

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National Institutes of Health-funded research showed that some 2,000 adults who walked their dogs regularly were in better shape and less likely to become obese than those who didn’t.

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4. Keep calm.

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A review of 69 studies found that human-animal interaction had a positive effect on socializing and mental health, including self-reported fear and anxiety.

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5. Fetch a diagnosis.

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Thanks to their superior sense of smell, many dogs have the ability to detect breast and lung cancer with remarkable accuracy. Furry fiends can also be trained to monitor health changes in diabetics, narcoleptics and migraine sufferers.


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