10 Health Benefits of Owning a Pet

They're cute, they're cuddly--and they're also good for your health! (11 Photos)

Marissa Capodanno on Jan 18, 2011 at 5:44PM

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10 Health Benefits of Owning a Pet

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They Make Us Smarter

Research finds having a pet may help your kids read better, and could provide other cognitive benefits as well. In 2010, the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine conducted a study in which kids who practiced reading aloud to a canine buddy showed improved reading fluency. (Kids participating in the study said they felt more relaxed reading to a dog rather than to a parent, teacher or peer.) The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry says pets can also help kids develop non-verbal communication skills. And some experts say those who grow up with pets have higher IQs and emotional intelligence, though research in those areas is limited.

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