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're Good for Our Mental Health

Forget yoga! Taking care of a furry or feathered friend can offer a considerable boost to our mental wellbeing. They’re the ultimate conversation starters, so they help us make friends and encourage social interactions -- a staple for good mental health. The sense of responsibility of owning a pet can also keep feelings of depression at bay, and their companionship has been known to significantly reduce stress. A 2009 study from the New York State Psychiatric Institute also suggests that pet ownership contributes greatly to therapy and rehabilitation among adults with more serious mental illnesses. Cats and small animals such as birds and rabbits have even been used for prisoner rehabilitation.

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