Humans are naturally drawn to companionship, which is one of the many reasons why a large number of people want to own pets. Pets require a lot of care – almost as much as a child – and humans are happy to provide it. This is because the relationship between a pet and his or her owner is mutually beneficial, and science has started to prove it. According to the WALTHAM pocket book of human-animal interactions, owning a pet can have positive effects on one’s overall mental and physical wellbeing. WALTHAM has been an authority of scientific research of the nutrition and health of pets for more than 50 years.
Anthrozoology, the study of the interaction between humans and other animals, has been growing over the last 35 years. Controlled research in this discipline has proved that owning a pet can:
- Buffer stress
- Lower heart rate
- Lower blood pressure
- Give social support
- Help you stay in shape
- Prevent certain sicknesses
This is possible in part because pets provide their owner with comfort, love and humor, all of which have health benefits. In addition, pets demand their owners stay active by requiring walks, attention, play time, baths, and overall care. Studies have shown that pets are similarly beneficial for children, if the right precautions are taken. When a child has a good relationship with their pet, the animal will encourage:
- Cognitive stimulation
- Improved behavior in children
- Heightened understanding of others
- Increased immunity
- Lower anxiety levels
Humans have clearly adopted and loved their pets throughout time, but these are a few more reasons why adding a companion animal to your family could be a valuable decision. The advantages that pets bring to your life are just another reason to love them as much as you already do!
Thanks to vet student Kristina Solch, class of 2016, for providing this information.