health

Love Your Pet Day: 9 ways your favorite creature can improve your health

By CNN Staff

Published February 19, 2020

Courtesy Kimpton Hotels

Various studies have found health benefits for owners of all kinds of pets, including birds, hamsters, gerbils, fish, snakes and even bugs.

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Here are some of the health benefits of owning a pet.

Courtesy Brittany Anderson

1. You can live longer

Did you know that man's best friend, known for devotion and loyalty, can also extend our lifespans? A meta-analysis of research found dog owners were 24% less likely to die early for any reason.

WPMT

2. Releases the "cuddle chemical"

Love petting your cat? The act releases the bonding hormone oxytocin. An added bonus? The purring from your cat is an additional stress reducer.

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3. Less depressed nursing home residents

A study found nursing home residents caring for cockroaches were less depressed after eight weeks than residents who received only health advice.

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4. Helps manage diabetes

One study asked teenagers with Type 1 diabetes to feed and check water levels of fish twice a day. At the end of three months, the teens were better at managing their diabetes.

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5. Benefits newborns

Exposing a child to animals during the first six months of life is linked to a reduced chance of asthma and allergies later in life.

Caroline Krediet

6. Benefits children growing up around animals

The presence of farm animals, dogs or cats typically gives children a stronger immune system and a reduced risk of developing eczema.

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7. Teaches a valuable lesson

Pets provide an opportunity to teach children about love and loss, including birth, responsibilities of caring for a tiny animal and the death of a creature.

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8. Pet therapy

Parents report children with cancer are happier, more social and more compliant with treatment after a visit from a furry friend.

KGET

9. Horse therapy

Horse therapy is a proven method of therapy for children with autism, physical disabilities and mental and behavioral problems.

Andy Bardon