Who Needs An Apple A Day To Keep The Doctor Away?

Pets are good company but did you know they're also good medicine? Talk to them and play with them as often as you can and you'll unleash their therapeutic effects.

Pets may actually help us live longer because of the positive impact they have on our health. A study of dog owners in Pretoria suggests that petting and talking to a dog reduces blood pressure and increases the release of feel-good chemicals.

Scientists in Australia report that pet owners have lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides than their petless peers.

According to one New York-based study, pets cause a 15 percent drop in blood pressure in people with high blood pressure, and dog owners visit their doctor less often and are less likely to require heart medication. Hospitalized patients who receive visits from a trained service dog have been shown to have increased self-esteem and experience less depression than those who do not receive visits.

Dogs provide and impetus for people to exercise and stay in shape. Studies have shown that people walk further with a dog than without one. Finally, pet owners have been shown to sleep more soundly than those without pets. No one knows why this might be, but I think it’s attributable to having more pleasure and less stress … and that’s the stuff dreams are made of.

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