Pets are beneficial to children
Children exposed to humane education programs (with animals) display enhanced empathy for humans compared with children not exposed to such programs.1
Children who suffer from attention deficit disorder (ADD) are able to focus on a pet, which helps them learn how to concentrate.2
Kids who own pets have lower heart rates/blood pressure at physical exams.3
Kids 11-16 with pets have better ability to understand non-verbal communications.3
Children exposed to pets during the first year of life have a lower frequency of allergic rhinitis and asthma.4
The presence of a dog during a child's physical examination decreases their stress.5
Children owning pets are more involved in activities such as sports, hobbies, clubs or chores.6
Children with autism have more prosocial behaviors, less autistic behaviors such as self-absorption.7 Owning a pet can teach a child about the responsibilities of life and mutual trust. By feeding and exercising a pet, children can also develop an understanding of daily care.
Children who own pets score significantly higher on empathy and prosocial orientation scales than non-owners.8
Pets can help owners cope with serious health problems
According to the American Journal of Cardiology, after a heart attack, men and women who did not have a dog were six times as likely to have died during the study than those who had a dog.
Pets increase the survival rate of heart attack victims; 28% of heart patients with pets survived serious heart attacks compared to only 6% without pets.3
Pet owners have a higher one-year survival rate following coronary heart disease.15
Pets help the elderly
A Mayo Clinic study finds that seniors with pets have 21% less physician visits.
Pets help Alzheimers' patients by bringing them back to the present.16
Seniors who own pets coped better with stress life events without entering the healthcare system. 17
Activities of daily living (ADL) levels of seniors who did not currently own pets deteriorated more on average than that of respondents who currently owned pets.17
Seniors who own dogs go to the doctor less than those who do not. In a study of 100 Medicare patients, even the most highly stressed dog owners in the study has 21% fewer physicians contacts than non-dog owners. 18
Pets in nursing homes increase social and verbal interactions adjunct to other therapy.19
Pet ownership has health benefits
American Health Association and Center for Disease Control studies indicate that pets can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol and feelings of loneliness.
Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than non-owners.* One study showed that keeping a pet significantly reduced levels of cholesterol and blood trigylceride. This fact, combined with the reduction in blood pressure from being with a pet, may make pet owners less prone to heart attacks than non pet-owners.10
Pet owners have better physical health due to exercise with their pets. Pet owners have better psychological well-being.9
Pet owners are more active.
Pet owners are more active. The American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association recommend walking with a pet as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Pet owners feel less afraid of being a victim of crime when walking with a dog or sharing a residence with a dog. Pets have been described as a social lubricant. Attending dog training classes, visiting the vet and walking a dog have far more positive encounters with others than those out walking alone, with the pet often providing a topic of conversation.9
1 Ascione F. R.,. (1992). Enhancing children's attitudes about the humane treatment of animals: Generalization to human-directed empathy. Anthrozoös 5 (3) 176-191
2 Love, Miracles and Animal Healing. Schoen, 1996
3 Ontario Veterinary Medical Association
4 Hesselmar, B,, Aberg, N. Aberg, B., Eriksson, B. & Bjorksten, B. (1999). Does early exposure to cat or dog protect against later allergy development? . Department of Pediatrics, University of Goteborg, Goteborg, Sweden. Clinical Exp Allergy, May; 29(5): 611-7.
5 Baun, M.M., Oetting, K., & Bergstrom, N. (1991). Health benefits of companion animals in relation to the physiologic indices of relaxation. Holistic Nursing Practice, 5, 16-23.
6 Melson, G.F. (1990). Pet ownership and attachment in young children: Relations to behavior problems and social competence. Paper presented to the annual meeting of the Delta Society, Houston, TX.
7 Redefer, L.A. & Goodman, J.F. (1989). Brief report: Pet-facilitated therapy with autistic children. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 19, 461-467.
8 Vidovic, V.V., Stetic, V.V. & Bratko, D. (1999). Pet ownership, type of pet and socio-emotional development of school children. Anthrozoös, 12(4), 211-17.
9 James Serpell PhD: Beneficial effects of pet ownership on some aspects of human health & behaviour, Journal of Royal Science of Medicine, Volume 84, December 1991
10 WP Anderson, CM Reid, GLR Gennings: Pet ownership and risk factors for cardiovascular disease, Medical Journal of Australia, 1992
11 Zasloff, R.L. & Kidd, A.H. (1994). Loneliness and pet ownership among single women. Psychological Reports, October, 75(2), 747-52.
12 Allen, K. & Blascovich J. (1991). Presence of human friends and pet dogs as moderators of autonomic stress in women. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 582-589.
13 Raveis, V.H., Mesagno, F., Karus, D, & Gorey, E. (1993). Pet ownership as a protective factor supporting the emotional well-being of cancer patients and their family members. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Department of Social Work. New York, NY.
14 Cain, A.O. (1985). Pets as family members. Marriage and Family Review, 8, 5-10.
15 Friedmann, E. & Thomas, S.A. (1995). Pet ownership, social support and one year survival among post-myocardial infarction patients in the cardiac arrhythmia suppression trial (CAST). American Journal of Cardiology 76: 1213-1217.
16 Love, Miracles and Animal Healing. Schoen, 1996
17 Raina, P., Waltner-Toews, D., Bonnett , B. Woodward, C. & Abernathy, T. (1999). Influence of companion animals on the physical and psychological health of older people: an analysis of a one-year longitudinal study. Journal of Am Geriatr Soc 1999 March; 47(3):323-9.
18 Siegel, J.M. (1990). Stressful life events and use of physician services among the elderly: The moderating role of pet ownership. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, 1081-1086.
19 Fick, K. (1993). The influence of an animal on social interactions of nursing home residents in a group setting. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 47, 529-534.