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Why Owning A Pet Can Improve Your Health

Owning A PetResearchers who focus on the study of animal to human interaction have found that owning a pet, especially a dog, is actually good for our overall health. You may now see dogs in exam halls, nursing homes, hospitals and hospice care facilities – this isn’t a coincidence. Brian Hare, associate professor of cognitive neuroscience at Duke University states, “Many people seem to respond to dogs in a positive way. Dogs make people feel good.”

What Science Says

Scientists have now proven that just coming home to a happy and excited dog increases the oxytocin (a hormone stimulated by social bonding, trust and relaxation) in a person’s brain to above average levels. The good news is, we give that good juju right back to our pets. Research has also shown that just looking your cat in the eyes or interacting with your dog, also increases their levels of oxytocin as well.

Increases in oxytocin levels mean a decrease in anxiety and overall heart rate. A dual gaze between you and your pet reduces both, in your body and in your pets’.

In the 1980’s a study was conducted on heart-attack survivors, which proved that those with pets survived far longer after their heart attacks, than those who didn’t have a pet. The same study was provided over a decade later, with the same results. This is also while dogs are used in hospitals to increase recovery time and boost overall morale.

Some 42 million American homes have dogs, while almost 35 million have cats. Over half of those families owning a pet, are families with children. In children there is some research that suggests that exposure to cats and dogs as a child can decrease the risk of allergies and asthma later in life. Most doctors believe that being close to pets in childhood increases the health of the immune system, while it’s still in its developmental phases.

Owning A Pet Improves Physical Health*

Besides that of emotional and mental health, pets (especially dogs) can make any individual or family become more active, naturally. Dog owners who regularly walk their dogs were 50% less overweight than those who didn’t walk with their pooches. Those regularly walking their pup also were shown to have greater flexibility and overall mobility than those without pets.

It’s obvious we love our pets, but what wasn’t so obvious were all of the amazing benefits we receive and provide to/from our pets. So a big thumbs up and smile to those who have furry friends in their household. May your life be long and full of increased oxytocin levels!

About the Author: Scottsdale Pet Hotel is Tempe, Arizona’s leading dog boarding and doggy daycare facility for those owning a pet. When you want to leave your pet in good, experienced hands, look no further than Scottsdale Pet Hotel. For more information and pricing, visit:

*These statements are not meant to cure or prevent illness or disease.