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Human-Animal Bond Facts

Reprinted with permission from the Delta Society. (Healthy Reasons to have a Pet)

•Seniors who own dogs go to the doctor less than those who do not. not. In a study of 100 Medicare patients, even the most highly stressed dog owners had 21% fewer physician contacts than non-dog owners. (Siegel, 1990)

•Seniors who own pets coped better with stress life events without entering the healthcare system. (Raina, 1998)

•Pet owners have lower blood pressure. (Friedman, 1983, Anderson 1992)

•Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than non-owners. (Anderson, 1992)

•ACE inhibitors lower resting blood pressure but they do not diminish reactivity to mental stress. Pet ownership can lessen cardiovascular reactivity to psychological stress among hypertensive patients treated with a daily dose of Lisinopril. (Allen, 1999)

•Companionship of pets (particularly dogs) helps children in families adjust better to the serious illness and death of a parent. (Raveis, 1993)

•Pet owners feel less afraid of being a victim of crime when walking with a dog or sharing a residence with a dog. (Serpel, 1990)

•Pet owners have fewer minor health problems. (Friedmann, 1990, Serpel, 1990)

•Pet owners have better psychological well-being. (Serpel, 1990)

•Contact with pets develops nurturing behavior in children who may grow to be more nurturing adults. (Melson, 1990)

•Medication costs dropped from an average of $3.80 per patient per day to just $1.18 per patient per day in new nursing home facilities in New York, Missouri and Texas having animals and plants as an integral part of the environment. (Montague, 1995)

•Pet owners have higher one-year survival rates following coronary heart disease. (Friedman, 1980, 1995)

•Pets fulfill many of the same support functions as humans for adults and children. (Melson, 1998)

•Pets in nursing homes increase social and verbal interactions. (Fick, 1992)

•Having a pet may decrease heart attack mortality by 3%. This translates into 30,000 lives saved annually. (Friedman, 1980)

•Pet owners have better physical health due to exercise with their pets. (Serpel, 1990)

•Dogs are preventative and therapeutic measures against everyday stress. (Allen, 1991, 1996)

•Pets decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation. (Kidd, 1994)

•Children exposed to humane education programs display enhanced empathy for humans compared with children not exposed to such programs. (Ascione, 1992)

•The ADL level of seniors who did not currently own pets deteriorated more on average than that of respondents who currently owned pets. (Raina, 1999)

•Positive self-esteem of children is enhanced by owning a pet. (Bergensen, 1989)

•Children's cognitive development can be enhanced by owning a pet. (Poresky, 1988)

•70% of families surveyed reported an increase in family happiness and fun after getting a pet. (Cain, 1985)

•The presence of a dog during a child's physical examination decreases the child's stress. (Nadgengast, 1997, Baun, 1998)

•Children owning pets are more involved in activities such as sports, hobbies, clubs, or chores. (Melson, 1990)

•Children exposed to pets during the first year of life have a lower frequency of allergic rhinitis and asthma. (Hesselmar, 1999)

•Childen with autism who have pets have more prosocial behaviors and less autistic behaviors such as self-absorption. (Redefer, 1989)

•Children who own pets score significantly higher on empathy and prosocial orientation scales than non-owners. (Vidovic, 1999)

•People with AIDS who have pets have less depression and reduced stress. Pets are a major source of support and increase perception the ability to cope. (Siegel, 1999, Carmack, 1991)


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