Benefits of the Human/Animal Bond

benefits of the human-animal bond

Many articles have been written on the loneliness in society — THIS DOES NOT HAVE TO BE — PRESCRIBE PETS NOT PRESCRIPTIONS

Children & Pets:

  • Pet ownership during infancy has been linked with a reduced risk of asthma and allergies and even some kinds of cancer.
  • Children who own pets show increased empathy towards other people and animals.

Depression disorders affect approximately 18.8 million American adults or about 9.5% of the US pop. 18 year’s and older. This includes major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder.

  • The rate of increase of depression among children is an astounding 23%.
  • 30% of women are depressed. Men’s figures were previously thought to be half that of women, but new estimates are higher.
  • 80% of depressed people are not currently having any treatment.

Healing the Heart — Dr. Erica Friedman, Chair of the Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences at New York’s Brooklyn College.

  • One of the first non-psychologists to study the health benefits of animal companions.  Recently examined people who had suffered from Arrhythmia — irregular heartbeats— after heart attacks.  These men and women, all participants in a national clinical trial, Friedman found that patients with an animal companion were more likely to be alive after one year, and that patients who had a dog were 8.6 times more likely to survive the year than those without animals.

A 1994 study out of the New York City’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, researchers found that an animal can have a beneficial effect on a healthy person who is caring for a spouse with cancer. They can also help terminally ill adults deal with their illness.

  • These studies helped to create a new field called Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) which is being used in various areas of medicine,  Washington’s Delta Society — the leading international resource for the human-animal bond.

The following are research findings (reprinted from the Delta Society)

  • Seniors who own dogs go to the doctor less than those who do 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)