Someone who was not surprised by the findings was Kathie Cole who presented the results of a study to the American Heart Association in 2005 that showed contact with dogs helped improve heart and lung function in people with heart failure. Cole is a clinical nurse at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Center and School of Nursing. She told US News & World Report:
"I would be inclined to think that any animal that is perceived as meaningful to a person in a positive way would have health benefits."
She mentioned other research that suggested pets had a calming effect. Unfortunately, the opportunity to have this "low cost" stress relief is denied to many potential heart patients who live in apartment blocks and nursing homes where pets are not allowed.
Playing with a pet can increase serotonin and dopamine production in people's brains, in addition to oxytocin, which can account for why companion animals are good at reducing the symptoms of stress and depression, and can help with overall psychological health by helping to keep these two chemicals in a better balance.
In a recent study, Allen, a researcher at the State University of New York at Buffalo, found that stockbrokers with hypertension who adopted a cat or dog had lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations than did their non-pet-owning counterparts.
Give your cat (or whichever pet you have) and hug today and thank it for its amazing health benefits!
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