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Having Pets Can Make You a Healthier Person

November 24, 2009 Gabby Harris

Background Information

Highlights:

Some people have problems taking care of themselves, so how could they care for another living thing. Pets need food, water, and have to be cleaned regularly which is a big responsibility. Even though pets take a big responsibility, in the United States 62% of households have at least one pet. That is

• “Animals provide a constant source of comfort and a focus for attention.”-ICBS, Inc. • In the United States 62% of households have at least one pet. • Pets love you unconditionally; there are no strings, and no judgments.

approximately 382.2 million animals in 71.1 million homes. The American Pets Products Association, or APPA predicts that in 2009, pet owners will spend $45.4 billion on pets. Pet ownership helps people develop healthy behaviors. The responsibility of feeding a pet and taking them outside every few hours

gives the owner a purpose and makes them feel needed, which makes them feel good about themselves. Owners also have to exercise with the animal which improves their health and happiness.

Table of contents: Background Info

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Pet Therapy

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Advantages of Pet Ownership

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Pets and Mental Health 2 Pets Stress Relief

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Medical Health Benefits of Pets

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Resources

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Bibliography

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Pet Therapy Pets are used for therapy because it is a form of relaxation. Just watching fish can cause someone’s high blood pressure to lower. Studies have been conducted to prove this point. Pet therapy is used on many different types of patients. Some examples are people with AIDS, cancer, elderly, mental ill, and more. While sometimes humans are unstable and have unpredictable actions that cause stress; an animal just loves you and doesn’t change its

attitude. ICBS, inc. when talking about the human attachment to pets says, "Unlike people, with whom our interactions may be quite complex and unpredictable, animals provide a constant source of comfort and focus for attention." Animals also make us feel safe. When my beagle will bark at a stranger, I feel protected because I know she would never let something harm me. Animals don’t judge, so we don’t have to hide any part of us from them.

Research has shown that petting a dog can reduce blood pressure, bringing a pet into a nursing home can boost people’s moods and their social interaction. You can do pet therapy with any type of pet. It is important to make sure that you can take care of the pet otherwise it will do the opposite effect, it will cause stress.

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Having Pets Make You a Healthier Person

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Advantages of Pet Ownership

“Children receive physical and emotional needs from pets such as physical activity, love, loyalty, and affection.�

Children who are raised with pets gain many good qualities and behaviors. Children develop positive feelings about pets, which can contribute to the child having a healthy self-esteem. Children also can develop confidence. Pets can help develop trusting relationship with other humans. Pets listen to private thoughts without repeating so children often tell them

their inner most ideas. Pets can also provide support through tough times by being there for someone and just listening. Children also can develop responsible behaviors. Pets can teach respect for living creatures. Children receive physical and emotional needs from pets such as physical activity, love, loyalty, and affection.

Pets and Mental Health

"There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face."-Ben Williams

Pets have a positive influence on mental health. Research has shown that pets are good therapy with people who have mood disorders and anxiety. Dr. Marty Becker explains the importance of a pet in healing a mental ill person, "The healing touch of petting an animal and being kissed or nuzzled in return establishes a soothing intimacy at a time of loneliness. They also serve as a stimulus to exercise, a key factor in most recuperation. At a time when the ill person is feeling disconnected from the

world, incapable of his or her normal responsibilities, the pet demonstrates that they are still needed by another and that their presence would be terribly missed." Pets are good for helping people relax and escape their problems. Something as simple as gazing at fish can relax someone, lower their blood pressure, and reduce stress. Caring for a pet, such as a dog also can reduce stress. If someone has a mental disorder pet ownership can help in many ways. Pets can help reduce loneliness and isolation, for they accept us without changes and do not judge us. Pets can also improve our mood by just

being near us. In extreme cases a pet may be a reason for living. Our minds are healthy when we have exercise. Pet owners are more active because they get exercise from walking, feeding, and grooming a pet which keeps their minds healthy. We also are more likely to laugh when we live with a pet. Having a daily routine helps establish emotional stability. Caring for a pet is daily so it provides that emotional stability. Animals are brought to individuals or groups in treatment facilities and longterm care facilities to provide health benefits to patients of physical and mental illnesses.


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Having Pets Makes You a Healthier Person

Pets Stress Relief Pets provide stress relief, them which is a form of by giving someone exercise. Pets also comfort and being a decrease stress because companion. Pets love you they make people feel unconditionally; there are safe. Cats have been no strings, and no known to wake owners judgments. Many owners when smoke is in the like to talk to their pet or house, and dogs bark pets which relieves stress. when they fear you could Also when pets give you be harmed, or if they see kisses it can bring a smile someone they don’t know to your face. Laughter is that they don’t trust. also a form of stress relief, Simply petting a pet can pets make you laugh at relieve a great amount of times resulting in stress stress. Also petting an lessening. Exercise often animal reduces heart rate results in a decrease of and blood pressure. stress. Dog owners walk

Women Petting Cat to Reduce Stress

Physical and Medical Health Benefits of Pets Studies have shown that pets have a positive impact on health. Pets increase longevity after heart attacks. Owning a dog increases the chance for survival of a person who has had a heart attack from 1/15 to 1/87. Owning a pet also lowers cholesterol and triglyceride. Owning a pet results in a decrease of blood pressure and less stress. In a study it showed that dogs had a greater impact on stress than a spouse, or a friend, or a spouse and pet, or a friend and pet. Children also have a lower heart rate, lower blood pressure, and better behavior in physical examination when they have a dog with them. If a pet is with you, stressful tasks have smaller increases in blood pressure than if the pet was not present. Pet owners often have better physical health because they exercise and care for their pets. Owing a pet also reduces how many times a person needs to see a doctor,

and decrease the number of minor health problems. The use of prescription drugs in nursing homes drops greatly when animals take part in the therapy. Pets also can predict seizures, resulting in a person getting help before it becomes dangerous. Dogs can be trained to help in Parkinson's disease. In Parkinson's disease, there is a problem called freezing. Freezing is when a person’s feet freeze but the rest of their body keeps moving which causes the person to fall. Dogs can recognize it and if they touch the person’s foot it breaks the freeze. Dogs are also taught to prevent their owners from falling and help them stand again. Dogs can also predict cancer. An example of this is George a dog from Florida that can smell Malignant Melanoma skin tumors. He can sniff this cancer with near 100% accuracy. Some dogs can

smell prostate cancer in urine from human males. Pets also can be trained to know when hypoglycemia or low blood sugar happens so they can alert their owner. This allows the owner to fix the Problem. Dogs can recognize it and if they touch the person’s foot it breaks the freeze. Dogs are also taught to prevent their owners from falling and help them stand again. Dogs can also predict cancer. An example of this is George a dog from Florida that can smell Malignant Melanoma skin tumors. He can sniff this cancer with near 100% accuracy. Some dogs can smell prostate cancer in urine from human males. Pets also can be An elderly man in trained to known when wheelchair with a dog hypoglycemia or low blood sugar happens so they can alert their owner. This allows the owner to fix the blood sugar before it is really serious and dangerous. People are researching the use of animals in health issues.


Having Pets Make You a Healthier Person

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Resources If you want to know more… Website: If you want to learn more about pet therapy go to this website http://www.holisticonline .com/stress/stress_pettherapy.htm

Petland Independence

National: The Delta Society (The humanAnimal Health Connection) is a national organization. The Mission is “to

improve people’s health and Their address is well-being through positive 18801 E 39th St S interactions with animals.” Independence, MO You can call them at 425679-5500. You can also fax School: Contact Robin them at 425-679-5539. The Begley, head of the Animal Advocacy club at Mary address is: Institute and St. Louis Delta Society Country Day School, in St. 875 124TH Ave. NE Louis Missouri. Her email is Suite 101 rbegley@micds.org. Her Bellevue, WA 98005 address is: U.S.A. 1420 Silverton Place Local: Independence St. Louis Petland is a local company 63117 to Missouri dealing with Pet Her home phone number Therapy. You can contact is: 314-644-3557 them at 816-795-8821.

Bibliography 1. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Pets and Children. 2009. AACAP.23 November 2009. http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/facts_for_families/pets_and_children 2. Begley, Robin. Email Interview. 24 November 2009. 3. Caryn Shetterly. “Women Petting.” 2007. Online Image. This Week Community Newspaper/pets 2009. 23 November 2009. http://content.contentthatworks.com/images_articles/2008/pets/pets_20080103_touch_banner.jpg th

4. Chris. “Petlands Vet My Pet: Sunday, April 29 .” 28 March 2007. Online Image. Harlem Fur; Dogs, Cats and Pet-rification. 23 November 2009. http://www.harlemfur.com/images/Venue_Petland.jpg 5. Cox, Caitlin. Telephone Interview. 23 November 2009. 6. “Delta Society our mission, vision and goals.” Delta Society: The Human-Animal Health Connection. 2009. 23 November 2009. http://www.deltasociety.org/Page.aspx?pid=251 7. “Increase Longevity after Heart Attacks.” 1997-2009. Online Image. Doctors Foster and Smith Pet Education. 23 November 2009. http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=0&aid=638 8. “Industry Statistics and Trends. APPA (American Pet Products Association). 1998-2009. 23 November 2009. http://americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.asp 9. Lina. “Child and Pets.” 2008. Online Image. Blog 4 Parents. 23 November 2009. http://www.blog4parents.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/child-and-dog.jpg 10. Louis Kim. “Toddler Gazing Through Aquarium Wall.” 2009. Online Image. Pixdaus, nature photography…bookmarked! 23 November 2009. http://pixdaus.com/pics/1222559927Fclszif.jpg 11. “Physical and Medical Health Benefits of Pets.” Doctors Foster and Smith Pet Education. 19972009. 23 November 2009. http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=0&aid=638 12. “Pets and Mental Wellness.” Mood Letter. 2002. 23 November 2009. http://www.oflikeminds.com/PetsandMentalHealth.htm 13. “Pets and Stress Relief. Best Friends Pet Care. 23 November 2009. http://www.bestfriendspetcare.com/Pet_tips/stressandpets.cfm

14. “Pet Therapy.” Holistic Online. 1997-2007. 23 November 2009. http://www.holisticonline.com/stress/stress_pet-therapy.htm

Gabby Health Newsletter  

Semester 1 Health Project: Having Pets Can Make You A Healthier Person

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