Talkback: share what your pet means to you

A study of nearly 8000 people aged over 50 has found that pet ownership may be associated with slower cognitive decline among older adults living alone.

According to the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) the scientifically documented benefits of the human-animal bond also include decreased blood pressure, reduced anxiety, and enhanced feelings of wellbeing.

“Positive human-animal interaction appears to be related to changes in physiological variables both in humans and animals, particularly dogs,” HABRI said.

We'd love to hear your view - are pets better for us than we ever imagined?

Research from the University of California demonstrated older pet-owners visit the doctor less regularly than those without pets.

It is unclear whether this is because of overall improvements to health resulting from pet ownership or reduced loneliness, or a combination of both. Either way, the science shows pet ownership may be an effective low-cost health boost.

Pets improve mood, help people be more social (there's nothing like a chat between cat lovers, right?) and increase your activity levels (especially if you have a dog).

Share the benefits you believe pets bring to your life in the comments below.

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