Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rx For A Better Life? Get A Pet, And Do It Now

Date:
November 5, 2001
Source:
Texas A&M University
Summary:
Numerous studies have shown that pets - or at least the presence of animals - can have medical benefits that are beyond dispute. These range from lowering blood pressure to lessening anxiety and depression and even to faster healing times after surgery.

COLLEGE STATION, - It might be the prescription of the future: Take two aspirin and get a pet immediately.

Numerous studies have shown that pets - or at least the presence of animals - can have medical benefits that are beyond dispute. These range from lowering blood pressure to lessening anxiety and depression and even to faster healing times after surgery.

Fido is no placebo - he can literally be man's best friend when people are ailing.

"We have known for many years that the company of a pet can be of benefit in a variety of ways, but exactly why this is, no one seems to have the answer," says Dr. Bonnie Beaver, who specializes in animal behavior and human-animal relationships at Texas A&M University's College of Veterinary Medicine.

"For example, the long-term survival rates of heart attack victims who had a pet have been shown to be significantly longer than for those who did not. There is also data showing that widows who have cats are better off medically during the first year, which is a critical stress time, than widows who do not."

Other studies have shown that:

* Senior adults who own dogs go to the doctor less than those who do not. In a study of 100 Medicare patients, those who owned dogs made 21 percent fewer visits to a physician than non-dog owners;

* Pet owners have lower blood pressure, and one study showed that just 10 minutes in the company of an animal significantly reduced blood pressure rates;

* Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than non-owners;

* Pet owners have overall better physical health due to exercise with their pets;

* 70 percent of families surveyed reported an increase in family happiness and fun after acquiring a pet;

* Children exposed to pets during their first year of life have a lower frequency of some allergies and asthma;

* Children who suffer from autism have more prosocial behaviors if they own a pet;

* Owning a pet - especially a dog - helps children in families better adjust to the serious illness or death of a parent;

* Pets decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation in their owners;

* Having a pet may decrease heart attack mortality rates by 3 percent, which translates into 30,000 lives saved annually;

* Positive self-esteem in children is enhanced if the child owns a pet;

* Children owning pets are more likely to be involved in sports, hobbies, clubs or even chores;

* Victims of AIDS who own a pet report less depression and reduced stress levels.

Many groups take pets to visit residents of nursing homes, and usually the experience is a very positive one for both the pet and the individual.

"Many people in nursing homes had pets all of their lives, but for several reasons, are not allowed to in an extended-care facility," says Beaver.

"The tendency is to make those places 'sterile,' with minimal plants or animals. Those who bring in nature of all kinds generally bring in a better quality of life to their residents."

The reverse is also true - the life of a pet is usually enhanced if its owner cares for it properly.

"Geriatric animals in most veterinary settings are those that have had loving and caring owners who followed good husbandry practices," she adds.

"We don't really understand why pets make us feel better and in some cases, add years to our own lives," Beaver explains.

"There are many forms of the animal-person relationship. Some are not good, some are neutral, some are not realistic at all and some are very nurturing. Different people get different benefits from the animal, and even different benefits at different stages in the person's life."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Texas A&M University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Texas A&M University. "Rx For A Better Life? Get A Pet, And Do It Now." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 November 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011105073401.htm>.
Texas A&M University. (2001, November 5). Rx For A Better Life? Get A Pet, And Do It Now. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011105073401.htm
Texas A&M University. "Rx For A Better Life? Get A Pet, And Do It Now." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011105073401.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins