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Oh the power of a pet and a broken heart......

This past Easter weekend My Best buddy and 14 year old cat Azzie was rushed to the emergency hospital with a life threatening disease. We were trying to be cheery but were so devastated with having to possibly make the inevitable choice, and we decided to fight for our family member. It made me think about the importance of pets and the effects of human health so I did a little research a found the following points for this morning's blog.

Dog and cat owners have long known that a family pet can make life happier. Now, medical science is finding that pet owners also lead longer, healthier lives.

In fact, scientific research shows that having an animal companion - cats and dogs in particular -- improves both our emotional and physical well-being. These studies have connected pet ownership with favorable health effects ranging from lower blood pressure to reduced anxiety levels.

Good for body

Some of the studies show that owning a pet can have very real physical benefits for their owners. These include:

  • Pet owners have shown lower blood pressure. It has long been known that the act of stroking a pet can reduce blood pressure. But a recent study found that the beneficial effects continue even when the pet is not present. The study, which looked at a group of stockbrokers with hypertension, concluded that just owning a pet can help lower blood pressure -and keep it lower, even in stressful settings
  • Pet owners have lower blood cholesterol levels. Studies show that pet owners had not only lower blood pressure, but also lower levels of blood cholesterol and triglycerides in comparison to the non-pet owners, reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • Pet owners have a higher survival rate after serious illness. Two studies have found that heart attack patients who owned the pets were significantly more likely to be alive a year after they were discharged from the hospital than those who didn't. What's more, a study conducted at City Hospital found that the presence of a pet affected survival rate even more than having a spouse or friends. Patients in hospitals or nursing homes who have regular visits from their pets have shown to be more receptive to treatment.
  • Pet owners have fewer doctors' visits. Studies found that pet ownership corresponds to overall improved health and fewer medical care visits. A study of medical patients also found that seniors who own dogs go to the doctor less than those who do not. Even the most highly-stressed older dog owners in the study had 21 % fewer physician's visits than non-dog owners. And an Australian study of 6,000 households found that dog and cat owners required less medication for blood pressure, cholesterol, sleeping difficulties or heart problems.

And, for the mind

Anyone who has ever cared for a companion animal understands their role in emotional health. Pets offer unconditional love and attention; they make us laugh, help us relax and divert us from day-to-day concerns. Research has documented the psychological benefits of pet ownership.

Well, I just fed Azzie his breakfast, and I am on my way to torture....I mean train my friends!

Have a great week!!!

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