Anyone with a pet knows intuitively that animal companions are good for us. The enthusiastic greeting of a cat or dog after a hard day’s work relieves the stress of the office. Petting a cat lowers blood pressure. Walking a dog burns fat.
But the benefits of animals go far beyond the obvious. Dogs and cats (and many other species) help motivate sick people to become well; they assist humans with blindness, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and epilepsy; they help motivate incarcerated people to become productive citizens; they can provide a non-judgmental link to the outside world for people with autism; they provide emotional support for victims of abuse or post-traumatic stress disorder. The list goes on and on.
Given my affinity for this subject, it was a given that the Vet Blog would link to a recent article from recordonline.com. From the article:
“Interactions with animals can provide emotional and physical health benefits for diverse human populations, including the elderly, children, physically disabled, deaf, blind, emotionally or physically ill, and the incarcerated,” according to Dr. Hayden Sears, vice chairman of the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Human-Animal Bond.
In my opinion Dr. Sears has merely discussed the tip of the iceberg. I believe that interactions with animals can be good for almost everyone.