may benefit your health
a recent survey by the American Animal Hospital Association, 57
percent of pet owners indicated that if they were stranded on
a desert island, they would prefer the company of their pet to
another human. Simply put, it makes us happy to experience the
wagging tails, enthusiastic greetings, amusing antics and utter
devotion of our pets. And research demonstrates that, on average,
pets help keep their owners healthy and active. Some insurance
companies have even started offering lower life insurance rates
for pet owners.
There is very good evidence
that pets have a positive impact on a number of health conditions.
A study published in the April 1999 edition of the journal AIDS
Care found that people with AIDS who have pets are less likely
to suffer from depression than people with AIDS who don't own
pets. Several studies have also demonstrated that pet owners tend
to have lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels than non-pet
owners, and are therefore at a reduced risk for cardiovascular
indicates that pet ownership increases the odds of survival for
people who have had a heart attack. A study published in the American
Journal of Cardiology in 1995 found that dog ownership in particular
increased the likelihood of surviving after a heart attack.
also offers many benefits to older people. A study published in
the March 1999 Journal of the American Geriatrics Society showed
that senior citizens who own pets are less likely to be depressed,
are better able to tolerate social isolation, and are more active
than those who do not own pets. And these increased levels of
activity are not explained solely because dog owners take their
dogs for walks. Cat owners are equally active.