Owning a pet

Owning a pet

People who love pets know that they make life happier. Medical science confirms that pet owners live happier, longer and even healthier lives. Animal copanions, cats and dogs in particularly, are said to improve our mental, emotional and physical well-being.

Here are some of the latest findings:
  • Stroking a pet relaxes and reduces blood pressure. An Australian study of 6,000 households even found that cat and dog owners require less medication for blood pressure, cholesterol, sleeping difficulties or heart problems.
  • Owning a dog encourages you to go for a walk and get some exercise which affects our overall health and well-being and stress management.
  • Patients in hospitals or nursing homes who have regular visits from their pets have shown to be more receptive to treatment, recover after serious ilness quicker and live longer.
  • Pet ownership helps cope with stress. A study of breast cancer patients conducted at the University of Warwick in England found that pets provide valuable support for women who are coping with cancer. Researchers found that, in addition to tactile comfort, pets provided a relationship that, unlike most human relationships, was unaffected by the presence of a serious illness.
  • Owning a pet reduces loneliness. Researchers believe it to be so because the pet provides companionship, but also because the pet becomes a topic for conversation with other people that increases social interactions.
  • Pet ownership fights depression. A study of AIDS patients conducted by UCLA discovered that pets provide companionship that helps the patients cope with the stress of their illness. In 1,800 patients those who did not have a pet reported symptoms of depression twice as much as pet owners in the studied group. Research, conducted in South Africa found that a pet can serve as an anti-depressant, increasing the release of endorphins and other hormones tied to pleasure.
  • Family pet aids childhood development. According to researches, family ownership of a pet is strongly connected with self-esteem and greater cognitive development of children. Children from households with a pet also score significantly higher on empathy and pro-social scales than non-pet owners.

With all the above said, it is important to emphasize that owning a pet is not for everyone. Owning an animal comes with additional work and responsibility.