Photo Courtesy: Frank Kellner
According to the 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey, around 63% of all USA households (that’s about 71.1 million) are pet owners. 39% of all households own at least one dog and 34% households own at least one cat. These statistics show how widespread and common pets are in families throughout America.
Animals touch the lives of all generations. These furry beings not only cheer up the stressed and tired parent but they also prove to be excellent companions for your dear child.
Health Benefits of Animals for Families – Pet Partners®
Cats Are Good for your Heart
‘Toji and Chihiro’. “One cat just leads to another.” – Ernest Hemingway. Photo Courtesy: Fofurasfelinas
Who knew that having a pet in your home not only adds an extra someone to keep you company, but that it can actually be beneficial to your physical health? The latest news on the health benefits of owning a pet comes from the University of Minnesota’s Stroke Research Center, which conducted a study on the cardiovascular benefits of owning a cat.
The study’s results showed that people who have never owned a cat are at 40 percent greater risk of having a heart attack, and at 30 percent greater risk of death! It is believed that this result is related to what researchers have known about owning a pet all along – a furry friend can assist with stress relief.
Pet Love is Powerful
The unconditional love and support that household pets offer has allowed these four-legged creatures to take on the role of therapists, teachers, and support systems too. Studies have shown that terminally-ill patients who do not own a pet are three times more likely to report suffering from depression than those who do. A variety of nursing homes and hospital facilities have adopted programs that allow animals to come in and “visit” patients, helping to keep the patient happier and, indeed, in better health.
Your Pets Reduce Stress
Photo Courtesy: Toshihiro Oshima
Research has shown that pets may also help in the reduction of their owners’ blood pressure and cholesterol levels, can help them to become more physically fit (due to the animal’s demands for exercise), more sociable, and, most importantly, less stressed! For those with serious health conditions like epilepsy or heart disease with a risk for heart attack, trained dogs can alert family members when they see an epileptic or heart attack taking place. Some dogs have even been said to have the ability to predict seizures before they happen, and, in even more astonishing news, some can be trained to sniff out certain forms of cancer!
Save a Pet from Death
If that isn’t enough reason to adopt a pet, the satisfaction that people feel from adopting an animal from a shelter is another important factor to consider. 4 to 6 million cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters each year; adopting an animal that truly needs a home offers a sense of accomplishment that can’t be found in too many other ways – and the long-term benefits for both human and pet are immeasurable.
Adrienne writes for special-interest magazines and has worked on the production of women’s lifestyle channels at AOL as well as at E! Entertainment Television. She graduated from CUNY Baruch, where she served as the editor-in-chief of the award-winning student newspaper The Ticker.