It is estimated that over 60 percent of households around the world have at least one pet, and most owners consider them an equal family member! Find out what all the benefits of pets are for people.
Fun, happiness, relaxation, communication, moving, playing … then health, reducing anxiety, better focus on work and learning, reducing allergies … are all terms that include the positive effects of pets, especially dogs, on human health.
Numerous scientific and empirical studies, as well as the conclusions of the owners themselves, have proved these claims. Citing particular elements in the research, scientists have provided numerous studies that substantiate and facilitate the selection of a pet for everyone. That way, people can choose a pet (dog, cat, bird, reptile, etc.) at their own preference. Most often, having a pet has a beneficial effect on lowering blood pressure, increased activity and better immunity. It is estimated that over 60 percent of households around the world have at least one pet, and most owners consider them an equal family member!
Dogs are the group of pets most researched and written about, including their particular worth to people prone to obesity and diseases of the circulatory system.
It is well known that pets have had a positive effect on humans in ancient times, so in the 19th century, Florence Nightingale described that birds could be a source of pleasure for people housed in hospital rooms.
Furthermore, the hormone oxytocin is thought to have the greatest effect as a basis for the development of positive effects in human-animal relationships, and this is manifested primarily in psychological and endocrinological changes. Scientists have agreed that such changes can be exploited and forms of therapies have been created, collectively referred to as animal-assisted therapies. Particularly in clinical psychology and psychiatry, their numerous animal-assisted therapy (abbreviated AAT) are reported. Generally, AAT denotes the inclusion of animals in a recovery plan to achieve specific therapy goals.
Here are a few options and examples to see your pets’ health and recovery impact:
- Caressing and editing as a promoter of good feelings
It is considered and scientifically proven that when pets engage in physical therapy, in a way that the patient only caresses and brushes (eg, a cat), it helps to increase the functionality and mass of the muscles and has the effect of improving motor skills. Of course, it is also a great psychological influence, because such a form does not present the patient “boring” therapy. Children can thus learn certain movements and reduce fear, and greatly improve their sense of belonging to a living being and reduce feelings of loneliness. This approach was particularly successful when a live animal was introduced into therapy instead of a stuffed or similar toy.
- Removing fear
Some people are afraid to go for preventative examinations or treatment. In such persons, fear was greatly reduced in the presence of the pet (dog), and in psychiatric patients, it was observed that the waiting room aquarium significantly reduced fear before therapy.
- Empathy and social interaction
Multiple studies have proven that the presence of a pet with a human stimulates social behavior. For example, a therapy dog helps other people better perceive people in wheelchairs, smile even more often, and talk to them more often! Children with developmental disabilities (autism) are more playful and better at living with a pet, and with a dog in the classroom, children are better at teaching. Families who have a pet are more often visited by friends, which encourages socializing and relaxation.
- Increasing confidence and reducing aggression
Friendly animals will encourage interaction between strangers and increase confidence to the point where prejudice is destroyed and phone numbers are given to strangers! Also, the degree of aggression decreases in the relationship between humans and animals.
- Reducing depression
Elderly patients who have had a canary in a hospital room or institution for a period of three months have been observed to be much less susceptible to depression. It is especially important for people with depression to stay in focus or routine. Copying the behavior of pet dogs (walking, eating, sleeping) greatly helps.
- Effect of human-animal interaction on cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline
Human-animal interaction has also been investigated for its effect on hormonal stress indicators such as cortisol and on neurotransmitters such as adrenaline and noradrenaline. Differences in the change in plasma cortisol concentration during gentle pampering of one’s own or someone else’s dog and reading a book were investigated, and it was found that pampering the dog reduced the cortisol concentration. Also, cortisol levels decrease in cardiac patients visited by the pet during the recovery process.
- Effect on blood pressure and heart rate
The effect of starving the dog on resting, talking, and reading books was compared in students, and it was shown that blood pressure was lowered in those students who starved for a dog. The lower was only during rest. Students who only saw the dog, talked to or touched the dog also had low blood pressure and regular heartbeats. Interestingly, stroke survivors recover faster if visited by a person with a dog than a person without a dog!
- Effect on human health and recovery
Over 1,000 adult Australians, owners of cats or dogs, went to a much lesser extent with doctors and consumed far fewer sleeping pills than those who did not have pets. The Chinese also have a higher proportion of healthy population, dog owners, because they exercise more, sleep better and take fewer days off at work than do those without pets.
- Effect on the immune system
It has been found that dogs who are petting a dog compared to a pet toy or just sitting quietly have an increased concentration of immunoglobulin A – an indicator of the immune system’s good functioning. Furthermore, children growing up with dogs or cats are less likely to develop certain allergies.
Of course, there is still plenty of evidence of the well-being of humans and pets, no matter what the pets are about. Although they cannot cure any illness, they can help us overcome some of our problems in life. We are all dear and most beautiful, whether they are hairy, feathered or naked. The important thing is that only healthy pets can do this and their owner is expected to look after them and invest in their health.
Ask your veterinarian about all your pet’s needs. Only in this way does coexistence make sense and produce superior results.
If your pet has additional questions, feel free to ask them your own questions: