Does Owning a Pet Really Improve Your Health?
The United States is a pet loving nation, having more dogs and cats than any other country, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. For those of us who own pets, we know how much they can enrich our lives, but according the scientific research, they can also improve the health of our mind and body.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), having a pet can decrease your:
Pets are Good for Your Heart
One of the most notable benefits of owning a pet has to do with heart health. Several studies have found that people who have had a heart attack survive longer with a pet than without.
The Baker Medical Research Institute in Australia studied 6,000 people and found that those who kept animals had lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol – and therefore, a lower risk of heart attack. Another study, conducted at the University of Minnesota and published earlier this year, concluded that cat owners were 40% less likely to suffer a fatal heart attack than people who didn’t have a cat. Adnan Qureshi, the neurology professor who led the study of nearly 4,500 people, said he believed that people who stroked their cat experienced less stress and anxiety and therefore were at a lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Another study, by Karen Allen, PhD, a medical researcher at the University of Buffalo, involved 48 stockbrokers with high blood pressure. Those who owned a cat or dog had lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations than those without.
Recovery After Illness
Studies have also found that people with pets tend to have faster, easier recovery after illness or surgery. One UK study of 50-60-year-old women recovering from breast cancer, for instance, found:
- 87 percent reported that their pets filled "at least one important role in their social support."
- 43 percent reported that their pets fulfilled more than 10 important support functions, such as being cared for, tactile comfort, and still feeling included socially, when they took their dog for a walk.
Pets can Provide Health Warnings
In 2006, a cancer research center in California published a study which found that ordinary household dogs could be trained to detect early breast and lung cancer between 88% and 97% of the time, by sniffing people’s breath – it is thought that these particular cancer cells give off miniscule traces of volatile odors that dogs can smell. The idea is that, once they have worked out which odors dogs are detecting and which cancers emit them, a diagnostic machine could be developed.
Dogs have also been trained to warn owners with Type 1 diabetes of an impending hypoglycemic, or low blood sugar, episode – they usually alert their owners by jumping up. It is still unknown exactly how the dogs can do it, but somehow they pick up on scent and are able to forewarn their owner.
Better Overall Health
Research presented at the 10th International Conference on Human Animal Interaction found that pet owners simply experience better health than non pet-owners. The survey of more than 11,000 people over a five-year period showed:
- Pet owners made 15-20 percent fewer annual visits to the doctor than non pet-owners.
- Those who went to the doctor the least were those who continuously owned a pet.
- The next healthiest group was people who got a pet during the study.
More Benefits of Pet Ownership
Studies have found these additional health improvements to pet owners:
- Reduced depression
- Less stress
- Improved exercise habits
- Better quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s or orthopedic disorders
- Increased Self Esteem
So which types of pets provide the most health benefits? Most commonly, dogs and cats are mentioned in the studies. However, any animal has the potential to brighten your life.
Our natural pet supplements are formulated to meet the needs of dogs and cats of all ages and include safe, all-natural solutions to help support the health conditions that develop as your pet ages. Discover HealthyChoicePets Today.
Healthy Choice Naturals
- This Book Can Prolong and Possibly Save Your Pet’s Life!
- Pet Nutrition: The Truth Behind Commercially Processed Pet Food
- Pet Nutrition – Essential Steps to Keep Your Dog Healthy
- Are Pet Supplements Necessary for Your Dog’s Health?
- The Health Benefits of Curcumin
- Dog Vitamins: The Importance of Key Nutrients for Aging Dogs