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Internet Video Series Illustrates Some of the Human Health Benefits of Pets

The evidence keeps rolling in. Pets are good for people. I was quite excited when Discovery CME, an organization that offers online continuing education for...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Aug 14th 2008


The evidence keeps rolling in. Pets are good for people.

I was quite excited when Discovery CME, an organization that offers online continuing education for physicians, confused me for an MD and sent me their schedule. Among their offerings is a program that seemed right up my alley. The program is entitled “Pets and People: The Power of the Health Connection.” You can watch it online if you have a high speed connection.

The program is intended to be educational material for human physicians. I found this surprising (and, on some levels, disturbing) because the narration and theme of the program make it seem much more like an after-school special than a serious scientific work.

However, it makes solid points.

  • Animal companionship leads to decreased stress in humans. This can help to prevent heart disease.
  • Dogs and cats can provide exceptional support for humans with disabilities ranging from blindness to quadriplegia to autism and beyond.
  • Dog walking promotes weight loss, muscle strength, and cardiovascular health.
  • Therapy dogs help with the emotional and physical recovery of patients in hospitals, assisted care facilities, and other institutions.
  • Pets provide valuable (and often critical) emotional support for humans with serious diseases such as cancer.
  • The above list does not even come close to being complete. If you want to read more about the ways in which having a pet benefits human health, check out the humanhealth tag on this blog. As well, you can find more information The Power of Paws, a website dedicated to spreading the word.