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Fido or Fluffy Can Bring You a Big Health Boost
And here are tips to help choose the right pet for you

By Joan McClusky
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, May 16, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Millions of Americans love their pets and spend lots of money to keep them happy and healthy. But being a pet owner also has a lot of benefits for the human half of the relationship.

According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, there are the physical boosts, like lower blood pressure, lower heart rate and lower cholesterol.

Being with your pet also reduces your response to stress and helps you to recover from it faster. Having a pet benefits kids in many ways, including helping them develop empathy. A pet can give you the same emotional connection as a human friend. And studies show that the more people benefit from their pets, they closer they tend to be to other people.

Dog owners of all ages are more likely to be physically active and less likely to be obese. For older people, having a dog can keep them socially connected. And that's been shown to help people live longer, and avoid physical and mental decline. Some dogs have special training to safeguard your health, like warning you before a seizure.

So how do you choose the right dog for your family? Start by thinking about your living space, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals suggests. Do you live in a house or a small apartment? Do you have a yard or live close to a dog park?

Next, think about your lifestyle. If you spend a lot of time indoors, you might want a dog that also enjoys being inside with people, like a Pug. If you're looking for an exercise companion or your family loves outdoor activities, a dog that loves being outside, like a Retriever, may be a good choice.

Think also about who'll be caring for your dog. Is that person up for long walks every day or will your dog be getting most of its exercise in your backyard? If you've got kids, make sure any dog you're considering loves having kids touch and play with him or her. Also talk about kids' role in caring for the new family member. Having a pet is a great way to instill a sense of responsibility.

More information

For more tips on choosing a pet, visit the ASPCA.

Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=722234

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
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The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


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