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Have you thought about owning a dog, but have been on the fence? The following are ways owning a dog will improve your health.

Owning a dog means you’ll get more exercise. If you own a dog, you’ll be more likely to go outside to walk the dog or run with the dog. The fact that your dog will love the walks so much will help you look forward to this form of exercise, too. A dog will help you exercise on days when you might have put it off, because the responsibility to your pet will motivate you. There are actually many ways to get exercise with your dog. Try playing fetch with your dog or teaching him tricks, like how to catch a frisbee. All of this will get your up and moving, which will burn calories and improve your health.

Owning a dog will help your blood pressure. When doctors studied pet ownership and health benefits, they discovered petting your dog lowers your blood pressure. When your dog asks for a belly scratch, take the time to brush or pet him all over, helping both you and him to be happier and healthier.

Owning a dog attracts attention from other dog lovers, which can result in meaningful social connections. Even in big cities like New York City, where people don’t talk to each other much, people find dogs to be a good ice breaker. Take your dog to a doggie park and meet other dog owners, or bring your dog with you when you shop at the pet store, and meet other dog owners there. Since social interactions are important for good emotional health, your dog can help you grow socially.

Owning a dog increases emotional resiliency. Studies reveal that a dog’s unconditional love and zest for life actually helps people recover from disappointment and handle stress better. Dog owners live longer than those who don’t own pets at all. If you find yourself struggling with negative emotions, a dog may be the answer.

Want to live your healthiest life possible? Maybe it’s time to take a trip to the Humane Society and see if your new best friend is waiting for you.

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