Pets are good for your health: until recently, this used to be a commonplace stemming from popular wisdom. But now, there is scientific evidence that such a claim is well grounded. According to a research conducted by R.L. Matchock of the Pennsylvania State University in Altoona, pet ownership and human-animal interaction can be a form of social support and convey several psychological and physiological health benefits.
Cross-sectional studies confirm there are links between pet ownership and numerous positive effects on human health, including improvements on cardiovascular measures and decreases in loneliness. Experimental studies corroborate such associations and suggest that owning and/or interacting with a pet may be causally associated with some positive health outcomes.
Owning a pet and following AAT (Animal Assisted Therapy) is indeed an efficient, nonpharmacological treatment modality that augments the effects of traditional treatment and can be regarded as healthy pre-emptive behaviour.
Dogs, cats or guinea pigs: animals can be beneficial for your health in many different ways. Let’s see how.
Animals encourage us to practise sport. Physical inactivity is a major cause of disease in modern society. Hence, walking the dog on a daily basis logically favours physical activity, making us more active and healthy. Regular physical exercise helps fight chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, bronchitis or diabetes.
Animals are good for your soul. They bring joy and happiness to their owners. A warm welcome when you get home, or a cute, cuddly look when they want a kibble, activate the reward function in the brain.
Over to children and animal allergies: sure, animal fur can cause allergies. In this case, the immune system triggers a hypersensitive response to specific substances. The more a child suffers from these allergic disorders, the more likely they are to develop asthma. Generally speaking, though, animals do not increase the risk of developing allergies. Quite the opposite: in the best-case scenario, they actually decrease the child’s risk of developing them. In this case too, the underlying principle is that keeping children away from animals is detrimental to their immune system. Teenagers who have spent their childhood in company of pets are less likely to develop allergies and have a stronger immune system.