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the power of pets

So what is it about pets that make Australians so keen to own them? Research in the last few decades is proving what we’ve always known anecdotally – pets aren’t just good, they’re actually good for us. We now know that pets can help improve our quality of life; they can reduce stress, improve health and provide much-needed companionship. Pets also encourage people to enjoy the outdoors, stimulate conversations between strangers and improve our feelings of safety.

In fact, pets appear to be the solution to reducing some of the stresses of modern living. For the vast majority of owners, the major benefit they attribute to their pet is quite simply “companionship” but there are many other positive side effects to this simple reward. Some of the benefits pets bring to our lives are listed here.

pets are good for your general health

  • Pet owners are at lower risk of cardiovascular disease than non-pet owners.

  • Pet owners visit the doctor and use fewer medications than non-pet owners.

  • Pet owners are much less likely to die in the 12 months following a heart attack than non-pet owners.

  • A study of widows found non-pet owners reported deterioration in their health after the death of a spouse, whereas pet owners did not.

 

pets help prevent loneliness

  • Research from the University of Western Australia shows that 70.5% of pet owners reported rarely or never feeling lonely, compared to 58.3% of non-pet owners.

  • 74.5% of pet owners reported finding it easy to get to know people compared with 62.6% of non-pet owners.

  • People love their pets and frequently regard them as members of the family; a recent survey showed that 92% of owners reported feeling very close to their pet, 93% of owners reported feeling very satisfied with their pet and 86% of people say when things go wrong it’s comforting to be with their pet.dogs encourage exercise.

  • The likelihood of achieving the recommended level of physical activity per week was seven times higher for dog owners who walked with their dog five or more times per week compared with non-dog owners.

  • Dog owners reported 55 more minutes of total physical activity per week than non-owners.

 

pets are good for the community

  • Pets encourage social interaction and improve perceptions of neighbourhood friendliness.

  • People walking with a dog are more likely to have conversations with other people.

  • Pets help facilitate social interactions for people with disabilities.

 

pets are good for children

  • Pets help children to develop nurturing and social skills.

  • Children with pets are more popular with their peers and demonstrate greater empathy.

  • Children with pets have higher self-esteem.

  • Young children with pets exercise more and are less likely to be overweight.

  • Pet ownership in early childhood helps prevent sensitivity to allergens in later life.

 

pets are good for the elderly

  • Pets in nursing homes are one of the few interventions capable of permanently lifting the mood of hospices and nursing homes.

  • Pets boost activity levels in older people, helping to improve overall health in the elderly.