This weekend was my smoothie-making assistant’s 1st birthday. Edison celebrated by spending the weekend in Sudbury, learning to swim in the many lakes that make Sudbury a great place to spend warm summer days.
In honor of Edison’s birthday, I wanted to share with you the health benefits of pet ownership. There is support that sharing your life with a pet supports psychological growth and development as well as physical health benefits.
While research into the human-animal bond is in its infancy, studies are showing results that many pet owners and animal lovers can attest to. Some of the largest and most well-designed studies suggest that having a four-legged companion improves cardiovascular health. People that coexist with pets are more likely to have lower heart rates and lower blood pressure than non-pet owners.Additionally pet owners have been shown to display milder responses to stressors and more rapid recovery when in close proximity to their pets (the same results were not found when the pets were replaced by human companions, spouses and friends). Research has also found that pet-owners tend to have higher fitness levels and engage in more activity than non-pet owners which may also correlate to the cardiovascular health benefits.
Not only are dogs “mans best friend” but they are also conducive to helping their owners develop more human contacts and companions. Several studies have shown that walking a dog leads to more conversations and helps one to connect socially more than walking alone. Further research has shown that animal interactions are also beneficial to children; pets are a source of comfort and provide children with a greater understanding of compassion and empathy. Animals are now being used in therapeutic relationships in hospitals, nursing homes and schools.
This particular area of study is still in its infancy but as a animal-lover and pet-owner I can’t say I am surprised by the promising results.