BENFITS OF PET OWNERSHIP
by Karen Peavler
BENEFITS OF PET OWNERSHIP
by Karen Peavler
Studies have shown that pet ownership can reduce blood pressure more effectively than the drugs that
are commonly prescribed by doctors. That's one reason we love pets! If you suffer from high blood
pressure, or live with a lot of stress, you may want to consider owning a pet too.
Karen Allen, PhD, UB research assistant professor of medicine, researched the effect of social support
on heart rate, blood pressure and responses to mental stress in a group of 48 stockbrokers, all of whom
were being treated with lisinopril, an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor used to treat
hypertension. She found that the 24 participants selected at random to add a dog or cat to their
treatment regimen remained significantly more stable during stressful situations than the24 participants
in the non-pet-owner group, who served as controls.
Allen stated that "This study shows that if you have high blood pressure, a pet is very good for you
when you're under stress, and pet ownership is especially good for you if you have a limited support
system." All of the study participants had lived alone for more than five years.
Pets also encourage you to get out and exercise. Seniors with dogs go for more walks and are generally
more active than those without dogs. Walking your dog makes it easier to meet new people. People
seem to be able to interact more freely with others who have an animal with them.
Pets Stave Off Loneliness and Provide Unconditional Love. Pets can often be there for you when
people can’t. They offer love and companionship, don’t mind silence, they are good at keeping secrets
and are excellent cuddlers. For many people they provide the best antidote for loneliness. In fact,
nursing homes have reported less loneliness for residents when visited by dogs than when spending
time with other people! All these benefits can reduce the amount of stress, feelings of social isolation
and lack of social support from people.
Researchers think that caring for a pet may provide older people with a sense of purpose and
responsibility and make them less apathetic and more active in day-to-day activities.
Other health benefits of pet ownership are reduction in depression, help during times of loss, a sense of
security, and many have reported fewer trips to the doctors. These are all good reasons to consider
owning a pet.
My husband and I recently decided to get a rescue dog after about 10 years of being petless, and we
have already enjoyed many of the benefits of having a pet around. You can check out my “dog blog” at
mydogrio.info. The rescue organization where we got Rio is H.A.L.T. You should check them out.
Find tips and helpful tools for your pets on this site: http://bit.ly/bfWQp3