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J Holist Nurs. 1997 Dec;15(4):358-72.

Potential benefits of pet ownership in health promotion.

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Division of Cardiovascular Diseases at Mayo Medical Center in Rochester, MN, USA.


Pet ownership provides an opportunity to improve health. A pet may become a stimulus for exercise, reduce anxiety, and provide an external focus of attention. Pets are also a source of physical contact and comfort and may decrease loneliness and depression while promoting an interesting lifestyle. The benefits of pet ownership are consistent with the health promotion and disease prevention goals outlined in Healthy People 2000. These goals include (a) increasing physical activity and fitness and (b) improving mental health and preventing mental disorders. Assessment of pet ownership and discussion of potential health benefits facilitates a holistic understanding of our patients and ourselves.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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