4 reasons having a pet is good for your health - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

4 reasons having a pet is good for your health

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(CNN) - New research is suggesting that having a pet comes with benefits that extend well beyond companionship. It turns out your pup might be helping you keep some pounds off.

The more than 25 years worth of research shows pets are more than just another member of your family, they could be helping you to keep your health in check as well.

Research funded by the National Institutes of Health revealed more than 2,000 adults who owned and walked their dogs regularly were less likely to become obese than those who didn't walk their dogs.

Research suggests pets also help relieve stress as they provide 24/7 emotional support. One study in the American Journal of Cardiology found that pet owners had hearts that adapted better to stressful situations than non-pet owners.

And being around all that pet dander might not be such a bad thing either. A separate study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows children under 12-months-old who were exposed to dogs and cats, saw a reduction in allergy development by the time they were six.

Finally, there are some benefits to being a pet owner for your social life. Taking your pet to dog parks or out for a walk leads to more conversations with neighbors or fellow animal lovers. And studies have shown that people who lead a more connected and fulfilling social life are more likely to live a longer and happier life.

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