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How Pets Help Keep Us Healthy

By Sandy Schroeder

As a lifelong fan of pets, I think everyone should discover how much they do for us. I was an only child and my two best friends were my dogs, one large, one small. They shared all of my secrets, tears and laughter.

If you agree, or are considering a pet for your child, I would heartily recommend it. My pets always understood when no one else did. They taught me the responsibility of taking care of someone else, and they showed me what real loyalty is. They could also make me laugh when nothing seemed right.

As a parent, I rediscovered the magic of pets. My children adored their pets, and always put them first. We had two dogs, three cats, a tank full of fish, and a lab rat. I watched each of my kids make room for their pets in their lives. When they grew up, they again made room for dogs and cats in their homes.

Stress Relief

Washington State University researchers recently found how much dogs and cats do to reduce our stress. Within 10 minutes, petting a dog or playing with a cat helped to calm the participants.

Noted psychotherapist, Dr. Jamie Turndorf, says, "It's true that petting your pooch, cuddling your cat, or even bussing your bird can lower your autonomic nervous system, which de-stresses the body and lowers blood pressure."

More Ways Pets Help Our Health

They keep us going - Some mornings it would be easier to just sleep in, but my cat simply will not agree with that. Of course, I get up and get moving and the day rolls forward.

They keep us connected - When your cat is hungry, or your dog needs to go for a walk, the response is automatic. Of course you make sure they have what they need.

They help reduce depression - Current studies show interaction with pets help reduce anxiety and sadness. Research shows people suffering with depression tend to need less medication and recover faster when they have pets.

They help your heart - The American Heart Association endorses pets to help lower blood pressure, improve fitness, and cut cholesterol levels. Overall, the pets provide an invaluable boost.

They help soothe pain - If you have ever visited a senior center, you may have seen how much the visit of a dog can do for the patients. Soon they are laughing and smiling, distracted from their pain, and enjoying the day.

If you are considering adding a pet to your household, do the homework to find the right pet for you and your family, and enjoy the magic.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Chula Vista, Calif.

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