Saturday, January 9, 2010

Benefits of Owning a Pet by the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association

Pets are Good for Kids 

For years, parents have known that pets and children are a good combination. Now, research is demonstrating that children can benefit from animal companionship.

Children with companion animals are more likely to have higher self-esteem. A US study of 394 university students revealed that those who had owned dogs or cats as childhood pets were more self-confident than those who did not.

Pets are a wonderful stress buster for kids. One study revealed that children who had a dog present during their physical examinations had lower heart rates, reduced blood pressure and less behavioural distress than when the dog was not present.

Pets are wonderful playmates and sympathetic listeners. They also stimulate communication skills in children. A study of 455 school children between the ages of 11 and 16 revealed that children with pets had a better ability to understand non-verbal communications.

Live Longer - Own a Pet

A study by the US Department of Health concluded that pets increased the survival rate of heart attack victims. The study revealed that 28% of heart patients with pets survived serious heart attacks, compared to only 6% of heart patients without pets.

Another study revealed that the cholesterol levels of pet owners were 2% lower than the cholesterol levels of people without pets. The risk of those pet owners having a heart attack was reduced by 4%.

Owning a pet can reduce blood pressure as effectively as eating a low-salt diet or reducing alcohol intake.
A US survey of 1,000 Medicare patients showed that 40% of the elderly sought the services of a doctor much less frequently than those without animal companions.

Nursing homes that use companion animal therapy have experienced a significant reduction in the use of prescription drugs. The overall cost of caring for seniors also dropped.

Pets: An Integral Part of the Family

More than 50% of Canadian households own pets of some kind. Dogs, cats, birds and other companion animals are living in more than five million homes. For their owners, these animals are more than pets-they are part of the family.

Each year, Canadian families spend about three billion dollars on their pets. This exceeds consumer spending on children's toys, footwear, eye care, and dental plans.

A recent survey of pet owners revealed that nearly 80% of respondents gave their pets holiday or birthday presents. More than 60% signed their pets' names on cards or letters. A slight majority (51%) gave their pets human names.

While virtually all pet owners talk to their pets, an astounding 94% spoke to their pets as though they were human. One-third of respondents spoke to their pets on the telephone or via the answering machine. More than 90% of pet owners believed their pets were aware of their moods and emotions.

Pet Ownership: It's Good for Your Health 

Chances are, you'll live longer and feel better if you own a pet.

Medical studies on the human-animal bond reveal that pet owners are more likely to have reduced stress levels, cholesterol levels and blood pressure. They also experience fewer heart attacks than people without pets.

Researchers have found that the mere presence of an animal has a beneficial effect on heart function, and stroking and talking to a pet reduces blood pressure and stress.

Many hospitals and retirement homes engage in animal therapy. This may involve visits from volunteer animals or a pet that is kept at the facility. Seniors with pets are much less lonely than non-pet owners. Consequently, they do not make unnecessary visits their doctor out of loneliness.

A study of women undergoing stress tests demonstrated that the presence of a dog had a greater effect on lowering blood pressure than the presence of friends.

Companion animals also provide psychological benefits. Pets are sympathetic, supportive and non-judgemental listeners. Pets provide us with a distraction from our worries; they encourage social interaction and provide a soothing presence.

Read the full article here

1 comment:

  1. Great article! Even more information about how animals can help people live healthier and happier lives can be found at Delta Sociey also has a program for people to volunteer with their pets - taking them to visit people in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, etc.