The extraordinary bond between humans and animals is one that cannot be duplicated. Pet owners know that their lovable companion will always be by their side to comfort them, listen to them, and even make them laugh uncontrollably at times.
But the healing power of animals goes way beyond this rare form of support. Dogs have been proven to be able to sniff out physical ailments like seizures
and cancer. Depression symptoms in patients and those in nursing homes have showed improvements in quality of life just by simply having an animal around. These instances are just a few examples of the various mood-boosting abilities that our furry friends possess.
So if you’re looking for a little pick-me-up or even a new best friend, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to discover 3 scientific ways that pets are good for human health
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- Stress Be Gone: Having a pet unquestionably lessons the pressures of day-to-day life. In one study, stockbrokers who had high blood pressure and adopted a dog or cat showed lower blood pressure readings during stressful situations than people who didn't have pets.
Cortisol and norepinephrine, which are harmful chemicals that have a negative effect on the immune system, are the culprits for those who feel the effects of stress during a “state of dis-ease.”
On the other hand, serotonin and dopamine, the nerve transmitters that are able to combat the bad chemicals, are brought out by any pleasurable activity, like playing with a dog. Elevating the levels of either transmitter isn't difficult to do with a pet around, hence the reason they’re great de-stressors.
- Allergy Combatants: Despite what many think about pets and allergies, the truth is that “furred animals” can actually lessen the risk of allergies and asthma.
James E. Gern, MD, a pediatrician at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, recently analyzed the blood in babies immediately after birth and then again one year later. His motive was to locate any allergic reactions, changes in immunity, and bacterial reactions within a given environment.
The study determined that the infants were less susceptible to pet allergies if a dog was living in the home - 19% vs. 33%. In addition, the infants had a lower chance of developing eczema, a common allergic reaction on the skin, and had signs of a stronger immune system based on higher levels of certain chemicals within the body.
The current thinking is that the more a child is exposed to dirt and allergens from the very beginning, the stronger the immune system.
- Friend Finders: Anyone who has a pet knows that they’re instant icebreakers when it comes to conversation with new people. How many times have you “awww’d” over that adorable puppy on a leash and stopped to fawn over him while walking down the street? Exactly.
People who love animals are more apt to talk to other people who love animals, which means that not only are socialization skills improving, new and meaningful relationships are being made. Training classes, dog parks, outdoor cafes, and even online sites like Dogster.com, Catster.com, and Petpop.com are all places where animal lovers can connect and form bonds - all because of the adoration for their furry friends.
Sandra Mills is a freelance writer who enjoys writing on topics related to animal health and care. Sandra has recently written extensively on animal care career-training programs for those who are interested in working with animals.