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Jill DevineBy Jill Devine

Like you need a reason to get a dog, but here are five just in case …

*They provide unconditional love. Every dog owner knows there’s nothing better than the happiness and excitement that comes over your dog every time you get home from your work day.

*They make your heart healthier. According to the American Heart Association, owning a dog could lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.  They cite scientific studies that show a link between pet ownership and reduced blood pressure, cholesterol, and obesity.

*They ensure regular exercise. All those daily walks are just as good for you as they are for your dog.  A Michigan State University study found that dog owners are 34% more likely to reach the American Heart Association’s recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week than people who don’t have a dog.

*They help you manage stress. Several studies have found that playing with your dog can increase levels of the feel-good hormone oxytocin in your brain, while lowering the stress-producing hormone cortisol.

*They make you more social. Part of walking your dog every morning means running into the same people along your route.  And THAT’S a great way to meet people in the neighborhood and make new friends.

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