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Fido will keep you fit PDF Print E-mail
Written by Holyoke Enterprise   

There are a lot of reasons people get pets. Maybe Fido reminds you of your first pet. Maybe you hoped that Spot would teach your child about responsibility. Maybe you wanted Bruno to protect your house while you are at work.

Did you ever consider the fact that having a pet is good for your health?

“Pets make you live longer,” says Jim Amundson, DC, MEd, a professor at Northwestern Health Sciences University and long-time dog owner. “There are both physical and emotional benefits for pet-owners.” One study at the University of California, Los Angeles, concluded that dog owners have fewer physical stress-related pains than those who do not own dogs. The use of pet therapy is also growing in popularity in the health care industry.

“Pets love you unconditionally no matter how happy or sad you are. They provide companionship, laughter, love and affection,” says Dr. Amundson. All of which are emotions that humans need to feel every day.

Dr. Amundson provides physical and emotional reasons for why owning a pet is a smart thing to do for you—and for your health.

Physical benefits of owning a pet:

—Decrease in blood pressure;

—Decrease in cholesterol;

—Increase endorphin production;

—Create opportunities for exercise; and

—Decrease stress.

Emotional benefits of owning a pet:

—Decrease feelings of loneliness;

—Increase socialization with other pet owners;

—Make owners laugh; and

—Give a sense of compassion, and a sense of feeling needed.

“My dog Jack licks my face every morning to wake me up,” says Dr. Amundson. “My dog Remi chases airplanes in the sky. I think he thinks they’re birds! They are really fun animals.”

Animals might dig up your yard. Or make their litter box smell so bad it turns your stomach. They might make your blood boil when you find your garbage strewn across your bedroom, or their face stained with that blueberry pie that you just took out of the oven. But there’s something about that four-legged companion that makes it all worth it.

Good dog Fido.