It's no surprise that owning a canine or feline companion can be good for you. In fact, two recent studies from the American Heart Association, suggest your four-legged friend may help you do better after a heart attack or stroke and may help you live a longer, healthier life, especially if you live alone. The studies also found that dog owners are less likely to die from a heart attack or stroke than non-dog owners.
Playing with and loving up your pet can boost your production of “happy hormones” such as oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine, and help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Having a dog can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, ease depression and improve fitness.
Of course if you walk your dog, (My dog Jet (pictured) and I walk all the time) you'll get get more exercise than if you don’t. And here's another bonus: Our pets can also help us feel less social anxiety and interact more with other humans. Dog owners report less loneliness, depression and social isolation.
So, make the most out of having a pet. Play and interact, get moving, even travel with your dog if you can. Research pet-friendly hotels...there are lots of them.
Most of all, snuggle, scratch your pooch or kitty behind the ears, give belly rubs or good old-fashioned head pats. The more you love your pet, the more they’ll love you back, and the healthier you'll be.
Photo: Valerie Knight (and Jet)