We want to celebrate the special bond between humans and pets by sharing the 5 Most Lovely (and surprising!) Health Benefits You Get From Your Pet.
1.Petting a dog or cat lowers your blood pressure – Studies have found that petting a furry companion results in a lowered blood pressure and heart rate! Even when compared to relaxing with a good book having a snuggle with your pet on the couch was the top performer when it came to dropping blood pressure.
2.Your dog gives you an immune boost – In a study by Charnetski, Riggers & Brennan petting a dog while relaxing was found to boost immune components that are associated with lower rates of illness! Just to make sure it was the dog (and not just the relaxation) responsible for the immune boost the study included a control group that relaxed on a couch without a dog for the same amount of time and a group of people assigned to pet a stuffed dog. The real dog was the best performer!
3.Petting an animal reduces anxiety – Researchers have found that petting an animal, especially a familiar animal, significantly reduces anxiety ratings and physiological signs of stress. In fact, many colleges and universities have started hosting pet therapy rooms during exam season to help stressed students find relief!
4.Social benefits abound – Social isolation is a huge health problem, but research has found that having a pet, particularly a pet you have to walk regularly, leads to more social encounters and greater feelings of wellness. For those that struggle to chat with strangers, having a pet present provides a natural topic of conversation.
5.Pets encourage social and emotional learning in children – Connecting with a animal companions teaches children valuable lessons in compassion, empathy and respect for all living things. In the field of humane education, research has found positive benefits to teaching children kindness through animal interactions and discussions about non-companion animals (like endangered species).
Our pets do a lot to keep us happy and healthy. Next time you share some quality time with your pet, don’t forget to thank them for all the great health benefits they bring to your life! Are you thinking about adding a pet to your home? Our adoption team at the shelter is happy to help you find a perfect furry (or not so furry) friend.
Are you interested to learn more about the information posted in this blog? Check out some of the studies below:
Ascione, F. R. (1992). Enhancing children’s attitudes about the humane treatment of animals: Generalization to human-directed empathy. Anthrozoös, 5(3), 176-191.
Barker, S. B., & Dawson, K. S. (1998). The effects of animal-assisted therapy on anxiety ratings of hospitalized psychiatric patients. Psychiatric services, 49(6), 797-801.
Charnetski, C. J., Riggers, S., & Brennan, F. X. (2004). Effect of petting a dog on immune system function. Psychological reports, 95(3_suppl), 1087-1091.
Friedmann, E., & Thomas, S. (1985). Health benefits of pets for families. Marriage & Family Review, 8(3-4), 191-203.
Jenkins, J. L. (1986). Physiological effects of petting a companion animal. Psychological Reports, 58(1), 21-22.
Vormbrock, J. K., & Grossberg, J. M. (1988). Cardiovascular effects of human-pet dog interactions. Journal of behavioral medicine, 11(5), 509-517.
Walsh, F. (2009). Human‐animal bonds I: The relational significance of companion animals. Family process, 48(4), 462-480.
Wood, L., Giles-Corti, B., & Bulsara, M. (2005). The pet connection: Pets as a conduit for social capital?. Social science & medicine, 61(6), 1159-1173.