Creature comforts: Owning a pet can yield surprising health benefits

Pets are fur-ever friends to millions of people, providing cuteness, company, and lots of cuddles.

But there are also distinct health benefits to animal ownership, both physical — such as exercise from walking a dog — and emotional, including increased levels of calming cortisol and the so-called “happiness hormones”: serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin.

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