People and Pets
Are there any human health benefits in owning a pet?
Pets can play an important role in people's lives and they are often referred to as 'one of the family'. As well as providing a constant source of enjoyment, friendship and fun, many pets thrive in a family and household environment.
As a nation of pet lovers, we share our homes with 7.3 dogs and 7.2 million cats. Almost half of all UK households own a pet and it will come as no surprise to animal lovers that research shows that pets are good for our health. One of the more obvious health benefits of owning a pet is that of exercise - dog walking or playing with a cat is a great way for people to burn a few more calories.
Scientific research testifies to this 'pet power' and budgies, gerbils, rabbits, cats, dogs and fish all have their part to play. Contact with animals can bring real physiological and psychological benefits: reducing stress, helping to prevent illness and allergies, lowering blood pressure, aiding recovery and boosting chances of survival after a life-threatening illness. Fore more information on these benefits please follow these links:
Human Animal Interaction Research
There are a number of research findings that highlight the benefits of the human-animal bond. A handful of these are highlighted below:
- DOMESTIC DOGS AND HUMAN HEALTH: AN OVERVIEW - Deborah L. Wells, Belfast, UK
- A PET ALL DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY - Bruce Headey, Melbourne, Australia
- KIDS WITH PETS TAKE FEWER SICK DAYS - June McNicholas, Scotland
- CATS CHEER CHILDREN AND ELDERLY PEOPLE - Emma Osborne, UK
- PETS PREVENT PRISONERS REOFFENDING - Joan Dalton, Oregon, USA
PETS MAY BE MORE SUPPORTIVE THAN SPOUSES - Karen Allen, USA
For more information, read our leaflet 'The Health Benefits of Pets' that can be downloaded from this website and visit the SCAS research articles.