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Health Benefits of Pets

I spent 22 years in the nursing profession, and I enjoy writing about medical issues. I'm also interested in history, genealogy, and travel.

Improve your Health

The benefits of of owning a pet are numerous. What has your pet done for you lately? Maybe he barked and scared an intruder from the door? Or perhaps he fetched your slippers, the newspaper or just given you a loving nuzzle?

There is a growing body of research that proves owning a family pet will improve your health and reduce your stress level.

History of Dogs and Cats

Humans have shared a unique bond with animals since ancient times. 12,000 years ago. Dogs were domesticated from wolves as the result of a mutual partnership.

Wolves benefited the man's use of weapons and skills during a hunt, but humans billiard the wolves feed and ferocity.

Also, cats are valued in ancient times for their skillful pest control and even revered as sacred in some countries. Cats in turn benefited from food, shelter and playtime with their human companions.

In fact, 39% of United States households own at least one dog, while 33% own at least one cat which lends further credence to the strong human animal bond.

Oscar my 16 pound Tuxedo Cat

my photo

my photo

He can almost fly!

source coolfacts

source coolfacts


"Dogs come when they are called. Cats take a message and get back to you."
Mary Bly

Benefits of Pet Ownership

Research indicates that pet owners have fewer allergies; they're less likely to be depressed, have better heart health, have less Alzheimer's symptoms and often exercise more.

Pet owners get to experience the love and companionship of their pet on a daily basis. Pets so require grooming, pet supplies, pet products and the occasional visit to the veterinarian. There are many types of pets, such as, dogs, cats, birds, a hamster, a fish tank or probably several other types of animals.

That looks a little mean!

source Flickr

source Flickr

The Delta Society

There are numerous studies that prove owning a pet can improve your health. Studies have shown that owning a cat can lower your blood pressure, relieved feelings of depression, loneliness, stress and anxiety, and even boost your self-esteem. The Delta Society, a nonprofit organization, has done research that shows:

  • Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than non-– owners
  • Displaying tanks of brightly colored fish improves eating habits and curtails disruptive behavior in people with Alzheimer's disease
  • Pet owners have better psychological well-being overall, and feel less afraid of being a victim to a crime in their home
  • Children exposed to pets during their first year of life have a lower risk of developing asthma and allergies
  • Pet ownership may decrease heart attack mortality by 3%
  • Owning a pet (particularly a dog) helps children adjust better to serious illness or death of a. parent, As well as enhances self-esteem, cognitive development and nurturing behavior

Research has further proved that heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those without. Another study found that pet owners made 15 to 20% fewer visits to their doctor each year.

A Little Power Play!

source petsrus

source petsrus


source Flickr

source Flickr

Too Cute

source animalwallpaper

source animalwallpaper

Stress Benefits

Another amazing benefit of owning a pet is their remarkable ability to ease feelings of stress. Chronic stress can increase your number of health problems, ranging from heart disease to cancer. Just simply petting your dog or cat raises your levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are the two feel-good chemicals in your brain. And to think I thought it was chocolate, exercise, sex or drugs.

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A study completed by Karen Allen, PhD, a medical researcher at the University of Buffalo, concluded that stockbrokers who owned a pet have lower blood pressure during stressful situations than those who did not own a pet.

Dogs Used to aid Healing and Lift Spirits

They are using dogs for pet therapy and nursing homes and in some hospitals in the long term care areas. Most patients are delighted to see a happy little dog wagging its tail when they've been lying in a hospital bed for four weeks or maybe more. Studies have found having pets visit hospitals have positive influence on the patient's recovery.

The Delta Society has a program to certify therapy animals working with special handlers interact with adults and children, providing a wide range of emotional physical benefits. They launched a cancer treatment center program in January of 2008 to help these anxiety, pain, discomfort and stress among cancer patients and their loved ones. “Patients taking part in the animal – assisted therapy program get visits from Tori, a one – year – old Australia Labradoodle and certified therapy dog, who provides comfort, relief and distraction from pain – – and even performs tricks to give patients a laugh.".

The Benefits of Owning a Pet

Pet Poll


source public domain

source public domain


Many of us have wonderful memories of owning a pet from childhood and our children will also remember all the fun they've had with their cat or dog, or both

If you start training a pet as soon as you get them home you will enjoy them more and more through the years. Certainly at times pets can test your patience. It takes patience and time to train puppies, but most of them settled down by two years or before.

My recent experience with my cat is he took almost no training if I was consistent and gentle with him. They trust you and when you tell them no they understand, or I squirt him with a spray bottle of water and white vinegar. He really doesn't want to smell like a salad! My big cat brings me much joy and follows me around like is a little puppy, but he is a totally indoor cat. I have found it most important to begin training with cats or dogs as soon as you bring them home.

Pets enhance your life in many ways as they make you laugh, are always happy to see you, are affectionate and at add a special quality to your life.

© 2011 Pamela Oglesby


cats rule dogs rule on December 13, 2011:

Hi everybody hi doctor joe

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 16, 2011:

Lorlie, One about pets if they love us that are best and at our worst. It is hard ask for than that. Thank you so much for your comments, much appreciated.

Laurel Rogers from Bishop, Ca on March 16, 2011:

Pamela-What a wonderful hub my friend-If I think back and hard through tough times, my animals have always been here by my side to see me through.

I am grateful for them daily!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 21, 2011:

Prairieprincess, Pets really can make a big difference in our lives. Thank you so much for your comments. God bless.

Sharilee Swaity from Canada on February 20, 2011:

Pamela, beautiful hub, and a great explanation of how much pets benefit us. Love the statistics that you cite ... very interesting!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 19, 2011:

katyzz, Thanks so much for your comments.

katyzzz from Sydney, Australia on February 19, 2011:

Loved it, love pets, how wonderful they are and sorry I have been so tardy of late, Pamela

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 09, 2011:

Katie, I think two dogs and two great cats are great. I couldn't think of a button for everything. I figured you were a pet lover and I appreciate your comments.

Katie McMurray from Ohio on February 09, 2011:

Awesome, Your tuxdeo cat Oscar looks just like my tuxedo cat Elvis except Elvis weighs a wee bit more, he's a huge cat! Pets are amazing and bring us so much joy. I had to check a button that didn't apply. We have two dogs and two cats. :) Katie

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 09, 2011:

Sonia, I think labradors are wonderful pets and I can understand your love for him. It is difficult to leave them when you know you're not happy. Thank you so much for your comments.

applejuice, I certainly agree about pets being therapeutic and we don't necessarily think of them that way when we're purchasing one. They become a family member very quickly. Thanks so much for your comments.

applejuic3 from San Diego, CA on February 08, 2011:

Love the picture of the cat pushing the other cat's face into the water. Pets are so therapeutic and much more rewarding than we give them credit for :)

sonia05 from india on February 08, 2011:

lovely hub! i really enjoyed reading it. I have a pet dog,a labrador,he is very loving and cute and i believe he understands me very well,he can almost read my mind for he knows when i am happy or sad. Life has certainly changed for the better since the time he has come to my home. The only problem i face is when i have to go out of station for a few days and leaving him in a creche is not easy for he becomes very sad and i am moved to tears most of the time!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 08, 2011:

ImChemist, At this time I only have a cat but I adore that have owned both dogs and cats do the years. Thank you so much for your comment.

drpastorcarlotta, I'm sure those two many pinchers keep you busy. Thank you so much for your comments.

Pastor Dr Carlotta Boles from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC on February 08, 2011:

GREAT pics!!! Voted-up!! I have two mini pinchers.

ImChemist on February 08, 2011:

I personally like cats more than dogs , but any way thanks for sharing this information.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 08, 2011:

Darlene, Congratulations on finally getting a good check from Hubpages. I understand how much you love your pet as I always become very attached to any pet that I get. You should write about your dream since I'm sure it would be interesting. Thanks so much for all your comments. Love and peace.

Peggy, I think that's a great way to put the effect pets have on people and nursing homes. I know there are many programs out there and they seem to be working so well. Thanks so much for your,.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 07, 2011:

I believe this totally! I have grown up with pets but saw it first hand in a nursing home with how the residents responded to being able to see and pet visiting dogs. They are angels disguised in pet fur...or fins and feathers as fits the case. Voting this useful and beautiful.

Darlene Sabella from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ... on February 07, 2011:

Oh my darlin Pam, how sweet and wonderful is this hub, I love my pets more then my kids, at least that's what my grown children tell me...LOL That picture with the cat holding the other cats head down in his dinner dish cracks me up. I just remember my dream about my pets, I must write it...and guess what I will get a new pay check from hub, my first with $.40 more cents, it has taken me 18 months, I am doing something seriouly wrong...and I love you too girlfriend...peace darski OH rate up up

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 07, 2011:

MPG, I agree the pets become a part of the family and why lost my last cat I grieved over her for months. I'm glad they're showing with research just a therapeutic pets can be even down to the strength helping Alzheimer patient. Thanks so much for your comments.

Maria Giunta from Sydney, Australia on February 07, 2011:

Sassie has been part of our family for 4 years and prior to her I had cats as I was growing up. I wouldn't know how to live without a pet, any pet. They really to bring a special something into your life. I believe they are therapeutic as you point out in this hub, thanks Pamela.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 07, 2011:

Becky, Thank you for sharing that information and I appreciate your comments.

Ashlie, I think dogs are amazing the way they watch out for us and protect us. Thanks so much for your comments.

Angiewu, I'm glad you liked the pictures and I appreciate your comments.

anglnwu on February 07, 2011:

What cute pictures--they are so endearing. I agree with on the benefits of owning pets. Love that little quote on the difference between a dog and cat--so true. Thanks for sharing.

AskAshlie3433 from WEST VIRGINIA on February 07, 2011:

These are some great pics and great background on the two. We had a dog, it was a Rockweiler, hope that's spelled right. He always followed us, watching out for us. It is amazing the knowledge they can have. Great hub, very AWESOME!

Becky from Oklahoma on February 07, 2011:

I'm in total agreement with you and know for a fact that owning a pet helps children adjust better to serious illness or the death of a parent. Thank you for the information. Awesome hub.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 06, 2011:

Sally, That is one of the great things about dogs, unconditional love. Thanks for your comment.

Truckstop Sally on February 06, 2011:

Fun hub! Thanks. My dog is the only one who loves me unconditionally . . . and the reverse is true too! If I could just get rid of the dog hair!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 06, 2011:

vydyulashashi, What an awful time to lose your dog. I know that was awful. I hope you will be able to find another dog sometime that you will love as much. Thanks for sharing your comments.

Ingenira, I know your son will be happy. Thanks so much for your comments.

Susan, I remember that one also. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate your comments.

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on February 06, 2011:

Pamela loved the pictures and the quote is so true. Dogs drool cat's rule. I cannot remember who said that one but it is always one I remember. So many benefits to having pets. Enjoyed your hub very much!

Ingenira on February 06, 2011:

I love the photos. I am also surprisingly glad to know the many benefits of owning the pets. I think I will get one for my son who has been asking for it !

Well presented hub, voted up, rated useful and awesome.

vydyulashashi from Hyderabad,India on February 06, 2011:

I had a wonderful dog Max. He died on my birthday.

People used him call him as my brother.

Great Hub. Reminded of my Max.

God Bless you!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 05, 2011:

Prasetio, I am not surprised you are an animal lover. I don't have a camcorder either but want to get one. I appreciate you comments as always. You are such a sweet man. God Bless you.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on February 05, 2011:

I have a cat and two beautiful kittens. They looks so cute and adorable. They always make me laugh, every time they move and catch something. Unfortunately, I don't have video camcorder. Thanks for writing this, Pamela. Well done. I love all stunning pictures inside this hub. My vote always for you. God bless you!


Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 05, 2011:

Roberta, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and I appreciate your comments.

rpalulis, The photos are so funny that I loved them too. Thanks for your commetents.

rpalulis from NY on February 05, 2011:

My dog is getting very old, but she still thinks she's a young pup and wants to go every where I go. Great Hub Pamela, love the photo's!

Roberta99 on February 05, 2011:

I loved the pictures. Have had both dogs and cats at varioud times and they just become a member of the family. Good hub.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 05, 2011:

Hmrjmr, I think the use of dogs or fish are fantastic since they seem to really help. At one of the hospitals and in a nursing home I know of in Jacksonville have fairy new programs using dogs. I have a friend that started one of the programs and they are working out very well. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

Hmrjmr1 from Georgia, USA on February 05, 2011:

Pam - Great Info some of which I can verify, we have a therapy dog in our Alzheimer wing at the VA Hosp I work at, we just got him in December and he has already made a visible difference with some of our patients.

We also use Fish tanks and finch Aviaries throughout the Community living centers in our nursing home and hospice wards. Great Hub!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 05, 2011:

drbj, I came across this funny photos which really is what how I ended up writing the hub. I think people to get more satisfaction owning a dog because they interact more with you in many cats do. I appreciate your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on February 05, 2011:

WillStar, My cat is the same way I guess it's just an instinct they have which makes them so special. It sounds like your wife has you figure it out. I appreciate your comments.

Shalini Kagal, I think that's how most people feel because the pets become family members. And if you lose one the grief is so difficult. Thanks so much for your comments.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on February 05, 2011:

Pamela - your photos are wonderful. Laughed out loud at the dog sitting on the head of his vanquished foe.

I believe that owning a dog is the best experience a human can have. Cats are okay, too, but they are more independent. Dogs are unconditionally loving and loyal.

Shalini Kagal from India on February 05, 2011:

They're remarkable aren't they? We have two dogs who rule the roost at home - but we just can't think of life without them!

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on February 05, 2011:

We have a 'sick' cat.

No, the cat isn't sick, but whenever someone is ill or even just feels down, he finds them and stays with them for the duration. I don't know how he knows, but he always does and he's a great comfort.

Pets are a nuisance and I tell my wife that when these are gone, I don't want any more pets.

She knows what a liar I am.

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