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Getting A Dog May Mean More Friends

Update Date: Feb 17, 2014 12:05 PM EST

If you're looking to make new friends, get a dog. New research reveals that dog owners socialize with more people than those who own other pets or no pets.

Having a dog also makes people feel less lonely. However, having other pets like cats, lizards, and hamsters has no effect on feelings of isolation.

We find that dogs are associated with less loneliness.

"Unfortunately for cat owners, cats, reptiles and rodents aren't associated with a difference," Professor John Cacioppo told the American Association for the Advancement of Science's conference, according to the Daily Mail.

"We didn't determine what it was about a dog - but one of the things that dogs require that other pets don't is that you have to walk them," he added. "When you take them out and walk them you get exercise and you meet your neighbors. I don't know about you, but I've met neighbors over the years through my children and my pets."

"I think my dog also likes me and that may be part of it. But it may not. I think this getting out, walking, talking to people could be sufficient for a dog's health benefits relative to other pets," he explained.

Former veterinary director of Dogs Trust, Chris Laurence, explained that dog owners interact with each other when their dogs interact.

"If you are out with your dog, most people who are walking a dog will say 'hello' at least, but other people without dogs just walk past," he said.

"In terms of reducing loneliness, dogs are more of a spur to people. You don't take your cat to a training class," he said. "Animals like rats are very intelligent and interact, but they don't induce interactions with others."

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