Health Benefits of Pets
Getting a pet may seem like an oxymoron to some, but it is true that living with a pet is actually good for your health. Studies have found that pets can reduce stress, depression, and improve blood pressure. They also give a great sense of companionship and reduce feelings of loneliness. In fact, 65 percent of the respondents in a recent pet poll credited their pets with improving their social skills.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding large-scale surveys of pet ownership. These surveys aim to measure the quality of relationships that occur between people and animals. The NIH also is conducting studies to explore the health benefits of having a pet.
The NIH is particularly interested in the effects of a pet on children. According to researchers, human-animal interactions are important to child development. These interactions have been shown to produce oxytocin, a hormone that stimulates the production of other hormones and alleviates stress. In addition, the relationship between humans and animals may lead to higher levels of empathy.
For older adults, the same type of studies show that having a pet reduces loneliness. For adolescents, a pet can also reduce stress, as it provides a built-in playmate.
In a study done by Michigan Medicine and AARP, more than half of participants claimed that a pet is the best way to make friends. Aside from the obvious perks, having a pet can also help alleviate feelings of loneliness, which contributes to depression. For service members, pets can offer an outlet for emotional pain. In addition, therapy dogs can be brought into hospitals to ease anxiety.
The best way to determine how many pets are in your community is to estimate the number of households that own a pet. This can be done by multiplying the number of households in your area by the percentage of pet owners. There are some alternative methods for estimating the number of pets in your community, however. This method will require additional analysis to determine the most accurate estimate. For instance, the AARP and the Michigan Medicine may have found that regional demographics are more closely aligned with the national estimates. This can result in statistical error, so a comparison between the two may introduce some ambiguity.
The NIH has been studying human-animal interactions for decades. They are especially interested in the effects of pet ownership on children and the elderly. They are currently conducting a large-scale survey of pet owners to determine what effect they have on the lives of their pet owners. In addition, they are exploring how pets can be used as tools for treating and preventing certain diseases, such as traumatic brain injuries in service members.
The NIH’s top secret is not yet revealed, but it is expected to involve a series of studies on the health effects of having a pet. The agency is interested in the scientifically proven effects of pets, as well as those not borne out by experiments.