According to the 2021-2022 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, about 90.5 million homes have at least one pet. Newsinhealth.nih.gov claims that there are emotional and physical benefits to owning a pet. “97% of doctors believe that there are health benefits to owning a pet.” According to habri.org.
There are many emotional benefits to having a pet. Some include decreasing stress, reducing loneliness, and boosting moods. According to HABRI (human-animal bond research institute), “74% of pet owners reported mental health improvements from pet ownership.”
Owning a pet provides companionship. According to helpguide.org, “Caring for an animal can help make you feel needed and wanted and take the focus away from your problems, especially if you live alone.” Healthyagingpoll.org says that “more than half (52%) of pet owners cited companionship as their main reason for getting a pet.”
Pets can be beneficial to people with PTSD. Both therapy and service dogs are known to decrease symptoms of PTSD. These service dogs are trained to help people with PTSD by performing tasks such as bringing the person’s medication, waking them up from a nightmare, and assisting them during an anxiety attack.
People with PTSD who are paired with service dogs have “decreased incidences of sleep disturbance, lower overall anxiety, depression, and anger, and higher levels of companionship and social integration,” according to petpartners.org. Therapy dogs assist during therapy sessions and can be a “comforting reminder that danger is no longer present, facilitate social interactions, reduce loneliness, and create a positive external locus of attention,” according to petpartners.org. Pets have been proven to improve the quality of life for people with PTSD.
There are several physical benefits to owning a pet. Some are increased immunity, lowered blood pressure, reduced chances of asthma, reduced cholesterol levels, and can reduce risk of heart attack and heart disease. Having a pet improves the quality of people’s lives.
Having a pet can reduce the chances of children developing asthma. According to www.nih.gov, “children exposed to high indoor levels of pet or pest allergens during infancy have a lower risk of developing asthma by seven years of age.” It means a way to lower a child’s chance of contracting asthma is by having pets.
Pets can reduce the risk of heart attack and heart disease. According to newsroom.heart.org, “Dog ownership was associated with a 24% reduced risk of all-cause mortality and a 31% lower risk of death by heart attack or stroke compared to non-owners.” And “dog ownership was associated with a 33% lower risk of death for heart attack survivors living alone and 27% reduced risk of death for stroke survivors living alone, compared to people who did not own a dog.”
Having a dog as a pet keeps people in shape. Most dog breeds need to stay active to stay healthy. According to active.com, “dog owners are 34 percent more likely to fit in 150 minutes of walking per week than non-dog owners.” And “walking with a puppy leads to a 28 percent increase in walking speed, compared to only a 4 percent increase when walking with a human buddy.”
Owning pets increases immunity. Owning a pet exposes its owners to certain bacteria, which strengthens the immune system. According to rightasrain.uwmedicine.org, “one study found that petting dogs could improve one’s levels of immunoglobulin A, an antibody that helps protect our gastrointestinal, respiratory, and urinary tracts from infection.”
Owing a pet provides many health benefits for humans, from mental health to physical health. Pets help boost moods, decrease loneliness and stress, and help with PTSD symptoms. They also help humans live a longer life by increasing immunity, reducing the chances of asthma, and can reduce the risk of heart attack and heart disease.
Princing, McKenna. “Does Owning a Dog Improve Your Health?” Right as Rain by UW Medicine, 25 Apr. 2018, https://rightasrain.uwmedicine.org/well/health/does-owning-dog-improve-your-health.
Marcheggiani, Talia. “Are Dog Owners Healthier People?” ACTIVE.com, Active.com, 12 Dec. 2017, https://www.active.com/fitness/articles/are-dog-owners-healthier-people.
“Animal-Assisted Interventions and PTSD: Pet Partners.” Pet Partners | Pet Partners Is the Nation’s Largest and Most Prestigious Nonprofit Registering Handlers of Multiple Species as Volunteer Teams Providing Animal-Assisted Interactions., 1 Feb. 2021, https://petpartners.org/blog/animal-assisted-interventions-and-ptsd/#:~:text=Service%20Animals%20and%20PTSD,health%20disabilities%2C%20such%20as%20PTSD.
“The Power of Pets.” National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 26 July 2022, https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2018/02/power-pets#:~:text=Interacting%20with%20animals%20has%20been,support%2C%20and%20boost%20your%20mood.
“The Pet Effect.” HABRI, 17 Apr. 2018, https://habri.org/the-pet-effect/.
Robinson, Lawrence, and Kai Lundgren. “The Health and Mood-Boosting Benefits of Pets.” HelpGuide.org, 17 Nov. 2022, https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/mood-boosting-power-of-dogs.htm.
Gavin, Kara. “Poll: Pets Help Older Adults Cope with Health Issues.” Health & Wellness Topics, Health Tips & Disease Prevention, 3 Apr. 2019, https://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/wellness-prevention/poll-pets-help-older-adults-cope-health-issues.
“Exposure to Pet and Pest Allergens during Infancy Linked to Reduced Asthma Risk.” National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2 Oct. 2017, https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/exposure-pet-pest-allergens-during-infancy-linked-reduced-asthma-risk. “Dog Ownership Associated with Longer Life, Especially among Heart Attack and Stroke Survivors.” American Heart Association, https://newsroom.heart.org/news/dog-ownership-associated-with-longer-life-especially-among-heart-attack-and-stroke-survivors.