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Having a dog or cat can be good for your health

By jim Published: August 27, 2009

At a time when healthcare costs are rising, a burgeoning body of research shows that the best medicine for a healthful, long life may be snuggled up at your feet. Or it should be.

Researchers around the world have shown a direct correlation between pet ownership and improved health. From increased survival rates after heart attacks and surgery to reducing stress, depression and anxiety, pet ownership may not just improve mental and physical health; it may actually extend a person's life.

While people of all ages benefit from interactions with pets, seniors may see more tangible benefits in recovery times and mitigated feelings of isolation and loneliness. Studies show that pet-owning seniors take more walks — and get more from them — and are significantly less dissatisfied with their emotional, social, and physical well being than contemporaries without companion animals.

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