How can pets help your health? Every pet owner swears that they feel better after stroking their cat or dog. Research has been conducted in the past ten years to determine if there is measurable evidence that pets help their owners’ health. The results may surprise you, but only if you are not already a pet owner.
1. Blood Pressure Control
A 1999 study with 48 stockbrokers proved that pets helped better control 24 participants blood pressure better than the ACE inhibitors the other 24 people took. Later in the study, both groups were given ACE inhibitors, and the pet owners still had better blood pressure numbers than the non pet owners. High blood pressure is a known contributor to heart disease and is one of the first things that doctors try to stabilize to protect their patients heart health. Many of those who did not previously have pets got one after they heard the study results.
2. Exercise Inducer
People who have dogs have to take their pets for daily walks so that the dog can get its exercise and take care of its bathroom needs. That means that pets help their humans by making them get out of the house and walk. Exercise is vital to maintaining a healthy weight and has been proved to lessen your risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. People who already have diabetes can lower their blood sugar if they exercise regularly. One of the most vital components in a heart attack survivor’s recuperation is exercise. Nothing motivates a sluggish exerciser like a tail wagging buddy begging to go out.
3. Stress Reduction
A 2002 study showed that pets helped their owners feel less agitated when they performed various stressful actions than they did when their pet was not with them. When the tests were performed again with family members and/or friends replacing the pets, the people said they were more upset. So, for pet lovers, animals top friends and family in helping them stay calm.
A 1999 study done by the University of California found that AIDS patients with pets reported depression only 50 percent more often than people who did not have AIDS. Participants said their pets helped them focus on something other than their own life threatening illness and thus kept them from being depressed.
5. Unconditional Love
In 2006 St. Louis University completed a study that showed that nursing home patients reported feeling less lonely after a visit from their pet than they did after visits from family members. Doctors speculate that this is because pets do not treat their humans any differently whether they have physical or mental impairment the way that their family members do. Many nursing homes now have programs that allow specially trained pets to visit their residents.
Before you run out and purchase a pup, do remember that pets do require a lot of work but they give you a lot of love in return. Pet lovers have always known that their pets make them feel better. Now they can point to research studies that prove it is a fact that pets help their health.