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Pets can help your health
Spending time with a pet can have health benefits, according to Saint Thomas Health and the Centers for Disease Control. Thursday in National Love Your Pet Day.

Want better heart health? Play with your pet. 

It’s only fitting that National Love Your Pet Day, which is this Thursday, Feb. 20) lands during National Heart Month.

According to the American Heart Association, dog owners are 31 percent less likely than those without pets to die from a heart attack or stroke. Even more surprising, according to Saint Thomas, is the statistic that people with prior adverse heart events who live with a dog experience a 65 percent reduced risk of death.

Earlier this month at the Nashville Humane Society, cute pups wore red bandanas in support of women’s heart month. Dr. Nicole Schlechter, Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital chief medical officer and mama to dogs Emma and Junior, visited these sweet tail-waggers to draw attention to the fact dog ownership is actually good for your heart.

While she played with the dogs, most of whom are currently up for adoption, Dr. Schlechter shared facts about how pet ownership reduces stress levels, increases physical fitness, and can even make diabetes onset less likely.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, studies have shown the bond between people and their pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to their owners. Some of the health benefits of having a pet include: decreased blood pressure, decreased cholesterol levels, decreased triglyceride levels, decreased feelings of loneliness, increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities, increased opportunities for socialization.