The Benefits of Pet Ownership

 

This article was written for Pet Guardian Angels of America by Lauretta Williams

 

Fascinating Studies That Show the Benefits of Pet Ownership

Wondering what the real benefits pet ownership are? From constant companionship to lower blood pressure, we investigate all the wonderful ways our pets help in our everyday lives.

Owning a pet has many benefits, from allowing pet owners to relax and providing endless amusement and companionship, to scientifically proven medical responses. Today, many companion animals grace the halls of hospitals in therapy roles, while others are used to help countless people with assistance for a range of conditions and disabilities.

Photo by Pixabay

Amazing Studies

  • State University of New York study revealed that people experienced less stress during specific tasks when their pet was present. It was also discovered this reaction was more pronounced than if they were in the company of a close friend or spouse. The pet owners also showed lower heart rates, blood pressure and also a lower reactivity to the stress tests. Pet owners also returned to stable levels quicker than their counterparts who did not have pets.
  • After a 10 month study the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine concluded that owning a pet made significant reductions in minor health complaints during the first month of ownership. For dog owners; the effect was sustained for 10months. Their ‘pet’ group also scored higher in general health questionnaires. The results provided evidence that owning a pet has positive effects on human health and behaviour and in some cases those effects are long term.
  • A Swedish study published in Scientific Reports 2017, studying 3.4 million people concluded that dog ownership was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease in the general population.
  • UCLA Professor and Psychologist Judith Siegel published a report noting that AIDS patients were much less likely to suffer from depression if they owned a pet.
  • The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reports that cat exposure in early life decreases the risk of asthma in children. Proving that cat and dog exposure (especially cat) from birth was associated with a lower prevalence of asthma in young children.
  • According to the University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry in Canada, dogs have been linked to a reduction in childhood allergies and obesity. The study showed that families with pets (70 percent were dogs) showed higher levels of two types of microbes associated with lower risks of allergic disease and obesity.
Photo by Pixabay

The Child & Pet Bond

More studies are also proving that having a pet in the home can help children. A 10-year British study showed that children are much more likely to confide in their pets than their siblings or friends.

Pets also encourage movement and exercise, with other research indicating that older children and teenagers are more likely to get out and about if they have a dog. Encompassing this notion, alongside other research into how spending time in nature impacts on our feel-good vibes, having a good stroll in the park alongside your furry best friend can give pet owners the positive lift they need during stressful and sad times.

The great news is; all pets are shown to help our emotional wellness and wellbeing. Furred, feathered or scaled, they can help owners feel less alone during times of sadness.

Interestingly; patting a dog or cat or just being in their presence, can also have a huge positive impact. Pet Food Sherpa told us that some of the benefits include;

  • Reducing stress
  • Reducing blood pressure
  • Reducing cat anxiety and depression
  • Increasing social skills
  • Increasing self-esteem
  • Increasing communication skills
  • Increasing motor skills
  • Encourages movement and stretching
  • Decreasing boredom
  • Decreases feelings of isolation and aloneness
Photo by Pixabay

With so much wonderful research into the benefits of pet ownership, now is the perfect time to offer a pet a forever home. For those who are unable to own a pet, volunteering at shelters or just get

ting up close and personal with a family or friend’s pet can help your mental fitness and health.