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I know that animals are sometimes used to visit people in hospital or care homes for the elderly. There seems to be a real benefit for those people.

I've heard it said that stroking a pet can calm you down, relax you, perhaps even create better moods, and reduce stress levels.

Is there any scientific evidence that owning a pet, in your own home, will cause a reduction in the owner's stress levels?

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    Somewhat related: Stroking a dog resulted in raised immunoglobulin levels (helps fight off ilness) - Charnetski CJ, Riggers S, Brennan FX. Effect of petting a dog on immune system function. Psychology Report, 2004;95:1087-91. Jul 22 '16 at 12:45
  • See also answers to skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/2681/… Dec 12 '16 at 21:43
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It has been proposed by way of many studies that pet ownership can cause both short- and long-term stress relief. This study actually found that pet ownership is more effective at managing stress-related high blood pressure than ACE inhibitors (a blood pressure medication). Another study found that pet owners have significantly lower heart rates and blood pressure and higher rates of stress recovery than their non-pet-owning counterparts. As a result, pet owners tend to be healthier as well. And stroking a pet, even one that is not your own, has been shown to lower stress levels, too.

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