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Pets for Stress Relief?

girl and dogThinking about getting a pet for stress relief? If you are going to be the main caregiver, make sure you know what is involved in caring for the pet of your choice before you decide on getting one.

Owning a pet isn't for everyone. One person's idea of stress relief is another person's idea of stress. For example, some people find taking a dog for a walk a good way to obtain stress relief, and knowing the dog needs to be walked is a good motivator to get the exercise they both need. For others, it is a chore - the thought of having to walk the dog produces stress, rather than relieves stress. If they don't take the dog for a walk, they feel guilty. This isn't my idea of stress relief.

In general, people who own pets have lower levels of stress than those who do not own pets. However, people who own pets usually have made their decision to get a dog, cat or other pet because they enjoy animals and the stress relief is just an added bonus.

Having a pet has many benefits, both mental and physical. Besides stress relief, pets provide entertainment, companionship, and comfort. Pets provide a distraction from one's own problems and can relieve depression and anxiety and even physical pain. Petting a dog or cat usually relaxes both the pet and the person petting it, providing stress relief and feelings of satisfaction. Interacting with a pet even produces physiological changes such as decreased blood pressure and heart rate.

With pet ownership come responsibilities. If you're seeking stress relief, make sure your decision to get a pet is well thought out.

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