Doctors Agree: Pets Are Good for Your Health
By: Jeff Noce, i4C Innovations President
Our focus at Voyce headquarters is helping you keep your pet healthy so that you can have him or her around for a long time.
What if I told you that your pet is doing the same for you?
Recently, the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) surveyed 1,000 family doctors and general practitioners regarding their attitudes toward the health benefits of pets.
Of the doctors surveyed, HABRI found that:
- 97 percent believe there are health benefits to owning a pet
- 60 percent have recommended that a patient get a pet
- 75 percent have seen one or more of their patients’ overall health improve due to a pet
- 87 percent have seen a patient’s mood or outlook improve because of pet ownership
The results of this survey show us that doctors understand what many of us already knew: pets are good for you!
However, it’s not just anecdotal evidence that suggests this. There is a growing volume of scientific research to back it up. Study after study show an array of health benefits that result from having a pet in your life.
Want to make sure that your child doesn’t suffer from allergies like you do? Get a pet! Sharing a home with a pet reduces a child’s likelihood of developing allergies by as much as 33 percent, according to numerous studies by University of Wisconsin-Madison pediatrician, James E. Gern. Not only that, but his research suggests that early exposure helps boost and strengthen a child’s overall immune system.
According to the American Heart Association, pet ownership is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. While the correlation is not exactly clear, it may be that pet owners (especially those with dogs) are likely to be more active than those who don’t have a pet. And for those who have already had a heart attack? A study published in the American Journal of Cardiology in 1995 found that dog owners were more likely to survive an additional year than non-dog owners.
Lower Blood Pressure
Another way that pets help overall health is by lowering blood pressure. Studies have shown that just the simple act of petting an animal lowers both pulse rate and blood pressure. But just being in the same room with an animal may also be beneficial. An article in the Western Journal of medicine stated that in one experiment, children were found to have lower blood pressure “in the mere presence of a dog, even though they didn’t interact with the animal.”
Any of us who live with and love pets know that nothing melts away a bad day like the wag of a dog’s tail. Numerous studies confirm the stress-relieving powers of animals. One study published in the journal, Psychosomatic Medicine, found that “compared with human support, the presence of pets was associated with lower perceived and actual responses to stress.”
Of course, no one should run out and adopt a pet for the sole purpose of improving his or her health. After all, they come with a lot of responsibility. But for those who have the pleasure of sharing life with a pet, or are thinking of adopting for the right reasons, the benefits are truly beyond compare.
As we’ve seen, pets are great at keeping us healthy and active. Check back here for my next blog post when I’ll give you a few fun ideas for springtime activities you and your pet can do together.
And remember, I want to hear from you! If you have any questions that you’d like me to answer on the blog, drop me an email at email@example.com.