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Pic of the Litter: Mookee

Pic of the Litter: Mookee

Pic of the Litter: Mookee



Nickname: Good girl

Breed: Brussels Griffon

Favorite two-legged friend: Mom

Favorite four-legged friend: Lurline the Golden Retreiver

Top Treat: Cookies from vet

Biggest Turn On: Let’s go outside

Biggest Turn Off: TV doorbells

Famous feat: Leaps in the air when she’s happy

Favorite Spot: Next to Mom on the sofa

Often Heard Phrase: I love you soooo much

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Demographic data show that dog owners are more likely to be married, which has been linked to better health. They’re more likely to have the physical space for a dog, which means they might have a higher income level. But even after adjusting for those and other confounding factors, evidence of a benefit appears to remain in the data, says Kazi. “After reviewing the literature, it’s my conclusion that there is very likely some effect from having a dog,” he says.

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Stress is another known risk factor for heart disease. A 2001 study found that pet ownership in conjunction with treatment with an ACE inhibitor did more to reduce stress-related blood pressure spikes than ACE inhibitor treatment alone. A 2007 study found that in people hospitalized for advanced heart failure, blood pressure and levels of certain stress hormones dropped after a 12-minute visit from a therapy dog.

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Can cat lovers get the same benefits? “The available evidence is almost entirely about dogs,” Kazi says. There may be some mental health benefits from cat ownership. But you’re not getting the same physical benefit of exercising. Until there are more studies, it’s hard to extrapolate these findings to other pets, he says.

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Dogs may also have an effect on the human body’s intestinal bacterial population known as the microbiome, because they introduce germs to the home, says Kazi. These microbiome changes may help heart health, an effect similar to that seen when you eat healthy probiotics found in fermented foods.

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