As President Obama and Mitt Romney can surely attest, running for office can be a stressful experience. We here at MNN have a suggestion for how to relieve some of that stress: Get a pet.


Pet ownerships offers numerous health benefits, including lowering stress levels. In fact, a 2002 study at State University of New York at Buffalo found that when conducting a stressful task, people experienced less stress when their pets were with them than when a spouse, family member or close friend was nearby.


But what would make a good pet for a politician? We've got a few suggestions.


Barack Obama and catPresident Barack Obama

Obama sure seems to love his dog, but we can't help but suspect that he's a closet cat person. After all, a poll of 200,000 pet owners on found that cat people are more likely to be liberals than dog people. Plus, cat people are 10 percent more likely than dog people to be active on Twitter — and we all know the president loves to tweet. Then again, maybe Bo helps the president appeal to those canine-leaning undecided voters.


Mitt Romney and chinchillaMitt Romney

After the infamous dog-on-the-roof incident, we think it would be a good idea for Romney to get himself a more compact pet that can easily ride in the car. Something small and fuzzy like a chinchilla would be easy to transport and could help soften his image.


Michelle Obama

The first lady loves to exercise, so it seems Michelle Obama and hamster on wheelonly fitting that she find an animal that enjoys a good workout as much as she does. A gerbil, mouse or hamster seems like a good match for the president's wife — these critters travel easily and love a good run on the wheel.


Paul Ryan

Romney's running mate is known for his physique, so he needs a canine companion that won't mind a daily run. Perhaps he could adopt a retired racing greyhound. In return for his forever home, the dog could help Ryan Paul Ryan and greyhoundimprove his marathon time.


Al Gore

With sea ice diminishing, it would be nice if the former vice president could adopt a few of polar bears, but with all his speaking engagements, he'd probably do better with a more portable pet. Perhaps a virtual pet so he could log on — via his own invention — to feed it on a daily basis.


John Boehner and kittenJohn Boehner

It seems like the Speaker of the House could do with a little cheering up sometimes, and we know just the thing to bring a smile to someone's face: kittens!


Jill Stein

The Green Party's presidential candidate was arrested on Oct. 17 for trying to enter the presidential debate, which she called a "mockery of democracy." Then Stein was arrested again on Oct. 31 for delivering supplies to demonstrators trying to block the Keystone XL pipeline. Clearly, Stein needs a pet just as tough and fearless as she is. We recommend the honey badger.


Sarah Palin and mooseSarah Palin

Known for her support of aerial wolf hunting, it seems best to give the former Alaska governor a pet to remind her of home that also requires little upkeep. A stuffed moose would do the trick.


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Click for photo credits

Photo (Barack Obama): Getty Images

Photo (Mitt Romney): Emmanuel Dunand/Getty Images

Photo (Michelle Obama): Stan Honda/Getty Images

Photo (Paul Ryan): Jim Watson/Getty Images

Photo (Joe Boehner): Getty Images

Photo (Sarah Palin): Paul J. Richards/Getty Images