Globally, 57 percent of people own pets. An emerging body of research is recognizing the impact the human-animal bond can have on individual and community health. Their recent studies suggested that owning a pet boosts the mental stability of an individual. Pets encourage their owners to mingle in some physical activities like playing, walking which in return is beneficial for people suffering from anxiety and depression.
Studies showed that caring for a pet animal makes you feel needed and wanted, and takes your focus away from your routine problems. Caring for a pet also gives your day purpose and a sense of achievement which helps you feel valuable and needed.
Children and pets
Unlike adults, pets don’t give orders and are always loving. Their presence at home provides a sense of security in children. Having an ever-present pet can help ease loneliness in children when parents aren’t around.
According to studies, dogs can help calm hyperactive or overly aggressive children. Kids who grow up with pets are at reduced risk of developing allergies and asthma. Pets can help children learn how to cope up with stressful events and overcome their learning disabilities. Pets not only help overly aggressive kids be calm but also make them mentally strong to beat the challenges of their disorder. When kids with learning disabilities play and exercise with a pet they learn to stay alert and attentive throughout the day.
Older adults and pets
Life after retirement could be full of lazy days and lonely time. Post-retirement, an individual often loses its self-worth and tends to go into depression. Caring for a dog can bring pleasure and boost older people’s morale, optimism, and sense of self-worth.
When you grow older, maintaining a social life is not easy. Meeting with family members so often and making new friends can get harder. Here comes the role of pet dogs. They bring a new spark in older people’s lives as they enable their owners to ignite conversations and meet new people while taking a walk with their pets around the local park.
Physical challenges that come with the growing age can be overcome by taking good care of yourself. Dogs, on the other hand, bring playfulness and laughter and encourage physical activity, which can give a significant boost to older people’s immune system and increase their body energy level.
A study, conducted by researchers from the universities of Liverpool, Manchester, and Southampton and published in ‘BMC Psychiatry ‘ has revealed the long-term mental effects of owning a pet. In order to examine the mental health condition of the pet owners, the research team studied 17 international research papers and found that pets provide benefits to people with mental health conditions. Dr. Helen Brooks said: “Our review suggests that pets provide benefits to those with mental health conditions.”
Another research by experts at the University of California at Davis established that having a dog or cat in the home causes Alzheimer’s patients to suffer less stress and have not many anxious outbursts. A positive, nonverbal communication, as well as the playful interaction and gentle touch from a pet dog, can help calm an Alzheimer’s patient and decrease his/her aggressive behavior.
It has been found that the families who own a pet maintain a healthy lifestyle rather than those who don’t.