Do dogs provide health benefits? Believe it or not they do! Did you know that owning a dog and pet ownership in general, can help a person in many ways? Owning a pet can improve your mental wellness, reduce your visits to the doctor, improve your cardiovascular health and allow for faster recovery time from surgery as well as higher survival rates. Recent research suggests that dogs may be able to detect cancer on a person’s breath!
Lets’ explore these amazing health benefits of pet ownership:
It has been proven that dog owners have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels than non-dog owners. These factors, in turn, reduce the chance of cardiovascular diseases. In fact, just stroking a pet has long been known to reduce blood pressure. Furthermore, a study from the New York State University concluded that these benefits continue even without the pet being present!
Hospital studies have shown that senior citizens and recent post-op patients respond better to treatment and recover faster while in contact with dogs and other therapy animals. Did you know that dog owners have a greater chance to survive a serious illness than non-dog owners? In fact, a study revealed that a pet affected a person’s survival rate even more than the presence or company of family members or friends!
Studies conducted at Cambridge and UCLA concluded that there is a direct correlation between pet ownership and improved overall health, which leads to fewer visits to the doctor. The Journal of American Geriatrics Society notes that pet ownership has a positive effect on a senior’s physical and emotional well being. Additionally, a Medicare study of elderly patients also shows that people who own a dog have fewer doctor visits than patients who do not.
Pet owners have better emotional health and mental wellness than people who do not own a pet. Pets offer unconditional love and affection and their presence alone helps reduce loneliness. For people who are isolated, disabled or handicapped, a pet offers friendship and can even add a element of safety to their lives. Dogs are used as a form of therapy in hospices, nursing homes and as companions for the disabled and blind. In fact, there are studies that prove that people with a major illness fight the stress of having the illness better by having a dog as a pet.
There is new research that suggests that dogs may be able to detect certain types of cancer. Researchers at the Pine Street Foundation in San Anselmo, California and the Polish Academy of Sciences exposed dogs to breath samples from breast and lung cancer patients and samples from healthy people. They claim that the dogs were able to detect cancer with astonishing results and accuracy. The dogs were able to identify 99% of lung cancer breath samples (which included early stage cancer patients) as well as 88% of breast cancer samples. The study, which has been met with skepticism, will be released early in 2006 and published in the March edition of the Journal for Integrative Cancer Therapies. Experts agree that this holds promise, but must be evaluated and researched further.
As you can see pet ownership or having a dog comes with many benefits for an individual. Owning a pet encourages social interaction, reduces stress levels, boosts self-confidence and self-esteem and encourages exercise. Having a pet is a great investment, not only in the joy and pleasure that the animal brings into your life, but the many health benefits that come with the territory!