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Humans have enjoyed the companionship of animals since antiquity. People with pets thrive on the abundance of unconditional love and loyalty their furry family members impart. The human-animal relationship is mutually and deeply fulfilling, enhancing the quality of life for both. Growing research in anthrozoology, a relatively new discipline studying human-animal interactions, provides an intriguing insight into the powerful impact pets can have on our physiological well-being and their role in improving physical and mental wellness.

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1. Helping with Diabetes

Diabetes-assist dogs use scent to detect blood sugar spikes in individuals with type 1 diabetes. The canines then paw or nudge the person under their care, which prompts her to check her blood sugar levels and get something to eat. These specially trained dogs can also get help from someone else in the home or get an emergency phone if their owner is non-responsive.

Self-management is crucial in treating many diseases. Caring for an animal can help people cultivate healthy habits to tend to health needs. In one clinical trial involving teens with type 1 diabetes, students who took care of a pet fish were more consistent with checking their own blood sugar levels than the control group.

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