How your pet can improve your health & wellbeing

TOPICS:
How your pet can improve your health & wellbeing

With science to back up the “warm and fuzzies” of time spent with your pet, we explore the real health benefits of animal companionship.

Our love for animals became apparent last year with a brow-raising statistic: 50% of Australians share their home with a pet cat or dog, compared to 35% who share their household with at least one child under the age of 16.1 While this could say many things about our population, one thing is for certain: as a nation, we are pet obsessed.

Offering company, devotion, routine, and value to family life2, it makes sense to call them “companion” animals. Beyond companionship, evidence suggests that connecting with animals can have a lasting and positive impact on owners’ health.2

Benefits to our physical health: the “pet-effect”

The positive impact of pet ownership on physical health and overall well-being (aka “the pet-effect”2) is so compelling that one study estimated that cat and dog ownership saved approximately $3.86 billion in health expenditure over a year in Australia.3

From a prevention perspective, the advantage of owning a pet is clear: animals which require exercise (primarily dogs) incidentally get owners moving too.

A study found that dog owners are 54% more likely to get the recommended level of physical activity than those without a pooch.4

With fitness directly reducing the risk of obesity-associated illness, it’s easy to draw a link between pet ownership and improved health.3

Pets as healers

Benefits extend beyond exercise. Research has found pet owners show improved recovery rates from heart surgery. An Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) trial with dogs has seen wonders in care for Alzheimer’s patients, assisting with loneliness, morale, eating habits, and overall health.5 Animal interaction as part of AAT has also been beneficial in the management of childhood ADHD.2 Overall, pets boost self-esteem and empathy for children and teenagers.6

how-your-pet-can-improve-your-health-01-(1).jpg
Animals have been proven to improve quality of life for both young and old.

The stressed can also benefit from time with Fido and Felix. Companion animals have been attributed to lower blood pressure and cholesterol in their owners, as well as keeping their heart rate steady in the immediacy of a stressful situation.7 Those who are shy may find pets to be a good ice-breaker, an opportunity for social interaction.2

Benefits for young & old

It also appears that an animal in the home is highly beneficial for immune system development in children.2 These factors have lasting benefits on our ability to fight off illness and remain healthy as we age.

For the elderly, animal companionship benefits social integration and boosts resilience in times of loneliness.9 Interestingly, older pet owners also maintain their independence to perform “activities of daily living” over non-owners such as, climbing stairs, bending/kneeling, prepare meals, taking medication, showering and dressing oneself.9

Healer, ice-breaker and companion. It’s undeniable that animals benefit our physical and psychological well-being. With that in mind, go find your furry friend and give them a big cuddle, it’s a win-win situation.

If you’re are looking to buy pet insurance, call Choosi today on 13 55 55. We can help your pets get covered for the medical attention they’re sure to need down the track, and help you avoid financial drama when it happens. – See more at: Choosing the right pet insurance.

References

  1. Doggone it: pet ownership in AustraliaRoy Morgan, 4 June 2015
    http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/6272-pet-ownership-in-australia-201506032349
  2. The ‘pet effect’RACGP, Smith, B., 2012
    http://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2012/june/the-pet-effect/#6
  3. What are the health benefits of pet ownership?RSPCA Australia Knowledgebase, Updated 5 Nov 2015
    http://kb.rspca.org.au/what-are-the-health-benefits-of-pet-ownership_408.html
  4. Pets may help reduce your risk of heart diseaseAmerican Heart Association, 2015
    http://newsroom.heart.org/news/pets-may-help-reduce-your-risk-of-heart-disease
  5. Animal Assisted Therapy and Activities in Alzheimer’s DiseaseUnderstanding Alzheimer’s Disease, Cevizci, S., Sen, H.M., Güneş, F., Karaahmet, E., 2013
    Edited by Inga Zerr ISBN 978-953-51-1009-5, 494 pages, Publisher: InTech, Published February 27, 2013
  6. Pets And ChildrenAACAP, updated 16 February 2016
    http://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Pets-And-Children-075.aspx
  7. The benefits of pets for human healthNCHR, 2014
    http://center4research.org/healthy-living-prevention/pets-and-health-the-impact-of-companion-animals/
  8. Effects of dog ownership and genotype on immune development and atopy in infancy.The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology (Vol. 113) pp. 307 – 14
    Gern JE, Reardon CL, Hoffjan S, et al., 2004
  9. Companion Animals and the Health of Older PersonsIFA, updated 16 February016
    http://www.ifa-fiv.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Companion-Animals-and-Older-Persons-Full-Report-Online.pdf

Posted: 28 Jul 2016

This is general information only and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider the relevant PDS available on this website prior to purchasing any product. Choosi offers insurance products from a range of brands but does not compare all products available in the market.

TOPICS:

Search blog

Topics

Signup to our newsletter

GET MORE ARTICLES

Receive articles, news & tips as soon as they are published. We'll send occasional updates on the latest product offers, competitions and more!
By subscribing you consent to us contacting you and agree to our Privacy Policy



Related articles

Choosing the right pet insurance
21 May 2014

Choosing the right pet insurance

Understand the different types of pet covers available, from a very basic level to a more comprehensive cover.

Read More
TOPICS:
Choosing the right pet for your lifestyle
28 Feb 2014

Choosing the right pet for your lifestyle

Buying a new pet is an important decision and one that represents a long term commitment, so here's what you need to know about the process.

Read More
TOPICS:
Things to know before buying a new pet
29 Jan 2014

Things to know before buying a new pet

Buying a new pet is an important decision and one that represents a long term commitment, so here's what you need to know about the process.

Read More
TOPICS:

Ready to compare?