June 2, 07
The good news for those struck with puppy love - or any other pet connection - is that regular interaction with an animal will improve your health and reduce your medical bills.
Any type of pet can offer health benefits according to a joint Australian and German study that tracked thousands of people for five years.
The study found that pet owners gained health benefits and visited the doctor 10 per cent less than those without pets. The health benefits dipped for those owners whose pets died during the survey and increased for those who acquired a pet.
One of the survey’s authors, Dr Bruce Headey, a principal research fellow at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, said when he set out to study the correlation between pets and health he thought he might discover that happy, cheerful people were most likely to have pets and that their disposition might explain why pet owners seem to be ahead in the health stakes.
"But I guess I was surprised to find that it was the pet that changed them; people with pets were better off than people without them. When a pet died people's health decreased; when they got a pet for the first time their health improved and it appeared that it didn't matter what sort of pet it was, from horses to goldfish or dogs and cats. I had thought it would mainly be dogs who offered a health benefit because of the exercise that often comes with them, but it seems the companionship is a more important issue than exercise," Dr Headey said.
And according to an Australian People and Pets Survey, an animal can also act as prevention against illness. The survey found that pet owners visit the doctor less often, have lower blood pressure, experience less sleeping difficulties and are in better health than non-pet owners.
So why in New Zealand are we punishing dog owners ???? We should ENCOURAGE pet ownership rather than discourage this vital part of a person's life.
I get MORE stress when I can't find my dog because of the dog ranger. My dog caught a burglar, is great with kids, he loves people who hate dogs, and he even knows to be 'not so bouncy' around a physical disabled child/adult. He even helped a wheelchair user by pulling his wheelchair. Since he knows the commands for right/left/stop, all it took for this novice wheelchair dog puller, was to know which commands to use.
And this dog got a $300 fine for peeing out of the front gate without supervision! No wonder I get stressed !!
"To own and care for a pet, particularly a dog, is to enjoy better physical and mental health. This is true for all sections of the population," the study asserted.
"Dog owners, compared to nonpet owners, are more physically active and report greater satisfaction with their physical fitness. They visit the doctor less often. Fewer take medication for high blood pressure, sleeping difficulties, high cholesterol or a heart problem."
And here I am contemplating health insurance... maybe I should save the money and invest in animal health insurance for the dog!!
HOW PETS KEEP YOU HEALTHY
Stroking a pet helps us relax and spending timewith a pet can have a soothing effect as our heartbeats slow and blood pressure reduces. For people with high blood pressure having a pet is as beneficial to the condition as reducing salt or alcohol intake.
There's a great reason for teenagers to have a pet!! If your teenager drinks too much, get him a dog, and teach him HOW to be a good dog owner. Tell him/her to visit doglinks.co.nz and get some really good ideas on how to play with your dog.
Pets can reduce the impact of grief. If you have a pet you're more likely to recover from a heart attack than non-pet owners because of the blood-pressure reducing benefits of pet ownership and the extra companionship for those who live alone. Children with pets are often more self-reliant, more sociable and less selfish than those without a companion animal.
Pets teach children important lessons about responsibility and caring for another life. Many hospitals use pets as therapy for hospitalised children. Pets are loyal companions who can make people feel loved and needed. Pets can spark social interactions; if you're walking a dog in the park it can be a good icebreaker.