Friday, May 4, 2012

Adopt A Pet. It's Good For Your Health!


By Jill Harlan, Adoption Counselor 

We all love our animals and they love us back, but have you ever wondered why you feel so good hanging out with Fido in the dog park or cuddling with Fluffy on the couch?  Medicine can't tell us for sure, but we do know that our pets can bring health benefits beyond just a simple smile!  Listed below are some fascinating findings.

Asthma and Allergies
If you are expecting a human addition to your family, consider this.  A review in Clinical and Developmental Immunology, states that the majority of current studies agree that prenatal exposure to either cats or dogs reduce the likelihood of lifetime allergies to an animal.  This is particularly true with dogs. Full article here.

Coronary Artery Disease
A recent study completed in 2012 in the American Journal of Cardiology, utilized 224 participants, half of those being pet owners and the other half, non-pet owners.  These patients all had coronary artery disease, meaning that the blood vessels surrounding their heart were partially clogged causing the heart to work less effectively and cause possible serious or fatal health consequences like a stroke or heart attack.  With all other factors being equal, the pet owners were shown as having a 1-year survival rate more so than the non-pet owners.  

Full article here

Depression
Another study in Geriatric Nursing, completed this year, looked at 159 elderly women comparing pet support and human support with depression and loneliness. Surprisingly, the human support had no significant impact on measured levels of depression; however, the pet support had significantly decreased the levels of depression and loneliness reported by these ladies.  Full article here

Additionally, Journal of Pediatric Nursing, looked at 258 adolescents in a rural setting both with and without pets in their household.  The teens with pets in their household reported feeling less lonely.  Full article here.

Not that you need another reason to own your pet, but if you ever need to convince someone, this is definitely sound evidence that a dog (or cat or bunny) can be man’s best friend!  Why don't you come visit some of our furry friends and start feeling good! 

Can't live with a pet?  Think about volunteering as a cat cuddler or dog walker!  Click here to meet adoptable animals, and click here to learn more about volunteering!

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