Happy National Pet Week! Here in the veterinary world, pets are our lives! We do what we do because we love our pets (and yours)! What is it about pets that make our worlds go round?! There is something special in this thing we call the human-animal bond. They (pets) make us better! Pets truly can be therapy or even as beneficial as a prescription for your health!
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the human-animal bond is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviors essential to the health and wellbeing of both. This includes, among other things, emotional, psychological, and physical interactions of people, animals, and the environment. The veterinarian's role in the human-animal bond is to maximize the potentials of this relationship between people and animals.
What exactly does this mean? Can having a pet really help people be healthier? YES – there is even evidence to back this up! Evidence is piling up to support the positive emotional benefits of owning a pet. These studies have shown that pets benefit healthy aging, cancer patients, Alzheimer’s or dementia patients, individuals who suffer from PTSD, mental health disorders, autism spectrum disorder, and can even improve healthy child development.
Pets can not only help with emotional well-being, but can also help with medical problems! Recent studies have shown that owning a pet can improve allergies (especially) in young children, improve blood pressure, improve cardiovascular function, decrease the physical effects of additional stress, and decrease obesity through increased activity.
For more information on the human animal bond, check out The Human Animal Bond Research Institute!