Pet Therapy For Your Health

Any pet owner can attest that having a cute loving animal around can make you feel better, but did you know that having a pet can make you physically healthier? What’s even better is that animals benefit benefit in a similar way that we do. I wonder what this has to do with eusocial evolution, if anything.

The use of pets in medical settings actually dates back more than 150 years, says Aubrey Fine, a clinical psychologist and professor at California State Polytechnic University. “One could even look at Florence Nightingale recognizing that animals provided a level of social support in the institutional care of the mentally ill,” says Fine, who has written several books on the human-animal bond.

But it was only in the late 1970s that researchers started to uncover the scientific underpinnings for that bond.

One of the earliest studies, published in 1980, found that heart attack patients who owned pets lived longer than those who didn’t. Another early study found that petting one’s own dog could reduce blood pressure.

Read more at NPR.

Avoid Fat Kids by Owning a Dog

Recently Canada has been identified as being filled with fat people, and there’s a simple way to stop this waist problem from expanding: own a dog. Families that have a dog have kids who are fit and thinner than non-dog owning families.

Go play fetch and stay fit!

And an Australian analysis of 1,145 children found girls and boys with dogs 50 per cent less likely to be fat.

“If you’re a kid and a dog, you chase balls, you play soccer with them, you rumble with them, wrestle them on the carpet even if you’re watching TV,” said Jo Salmon of Deakin University in Victoria, Australia. “It’s activity and it’s a mind thing as well.”

Children whose families owned dogs were more active, with increased light, moderate and vigorous physical activity, regardless of race or gender, reported Christopher Owen, an epidemiologist at St. George’s, University of London, who led the English study.

“The more active lifestyle of children from dog-owning families is really interesting,” he said. “Is it that owning a dog makes you more active or active families choose to have a dog? It’s a bit of a children and egg question.”

Keep reading the article here.

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