The Positive Power of Pets
Medical technology has advanced miraculously throughout the past decade, but you may not have to visit a doctor or pop a pill to receive one of the best therapies around: pets!
THE STUDIES PROVE IT*
There are dozens of studies that validate the belief that pets keep you healthier longer. The following are examples from just a few of the studies that prove, beyond dispute, that pets have medical benefits to their human caretakers:
- A recent study at UCLA found that dog owners required much less medical care for stress-induced aches and pains versus those who do not own dogs.
- Another UCLA study says elderly pet owners made fewer trips to the doctor than elderly non-pet owners.
- City Hospital in New York found that heart patients who owned pets had a significantly higher survival rate than those patients who did not own a pet.
- Pet owners have lower blood pressure and lower levels of triglycerides than non-pet owners
- Just 10 minutes in the company of an animal significantly reduces your blood pressure rate.
- Pet owners with AIDS have less depression and reduced stress compared to non-pet owners with AIDS. Pets are a major source of support and increase their perception of their ability to cope with illness.
- In fact, some doctors are actually “prescribing” pets for their patients, ranging from cardiologists to oncologists who recommend acquiring a pet to help their patients cope better and recover quicker.
THE FEEL-GOOD FACTOR
Whether cat, dog, bird, rabbit or hamster, pets just make us feel better! They add quality and years to our lives.
Pets dramatically help alleviate loneliness, which is one of the most damaging risk factors for people recovering from heart disease and other ailments . This may be the reason why pet owners who suffer from heart attacks are likely to have five times the survival rate of patients who do not own pets.
Difficult periods in life, including the loss of a loved one, are easier to deal with if you have pets because they act as emotional lifesavers in helping us adapt and adjust.
Most pets give unconditional love and affection, which brings about a sense of worth and responsibility when caring for them. Long overdue studies now confirm what we have known for many years: that the company of a pet can be of benefit in a variety of ways.
The following are just some of the positive effects pets have on people:
- Pet owners have overall better physical health due to exercise with their pets.
- Pets add a sense of security for many people.
- Pets in nursing homes increase social and verbal interaction.
- Pets are preventative measures against everyday stress.
- Pet owners have better psychological well-being and fewer health problems.
- Senior adults who own pets go to the doctor less than those who do not own pets.
- Widows who have cats are better off medically during the first year, which is a critical stress time, than widows who do not have cats.
- Infants exposed to pets during their first year of life have a lower frequency of many allergies and asthma.
- Children who suffer from autism have more prosocial behaviors if they own a pet.
- Owning a pet, especially a dog, helps children better adjust to the serious illness or death of a parent.
- Positive self-esteem and advanced cognitive development are more likely in children if there is a pet in the home.
- Children living with pets are more likely to be involved in sports, hobbies, clubs and even chores.
- 70% of families surveyed reported an increase in family happiness and fun after acquiring a pet.
- Children exposed to humane education programs using pets display enhanced empathy for humans and animals compared to children not exposed to such programs.
- Contact with pets develops nurturing behavior in children who often grow to be more nurturing adults.
*Most resources from the Delta Society
Please note, articles in the Animal Resource Library are for reference only, and are not meant to diagnose or treat any medical or behavioral issues your pet may be experiencing.