has shown that heart attack victims who have pets live longer.
Even watching a tank full of tropical fish may lower blood
pressure, at least temporarily. A study of 92 patients hospitalized
in coronary care units for angina or heart attack found that
those who owned pets were more likely to be alive a year later
than those who did not. The study found that only 6 percent
of patients who owned pets died within one year compared with
28 percent of those who did not own pets.
therapeutic use of pets as companions has gained increasing
attention in recent years for a wide variety of patients -people
with AIDS or cancer, the elderly, and the mentally ill. Unlike
people, with whom our interactions may be quite complex and
unpredictable, animals provide a constant source of comfort
and focus for attention. Animals bring out our nurturing instinct.
They also make us feel safe and unconditionally accepted.
We can just be ourselves around our pets.
has shown that pet ownership can:
stress-induced symptoms. : In a study people undergoing
oral surgery spent a few minutes watching tropical fish
in an aquarium. The relaxation level was measured by their
blood pressure, muscle tension, and behavior. It was found
that the subjects who watched the fish was much more relaxed
than those who did not watch the fish prior to the surgery.
People who watched the fish was as calm as another group
that had been hypnotized before the surgery. Other researchers
have found that: Petting a dog has been shown to lower blood
pressure. Bringing a pet into a nursing home or hospital
can boost peoples' moods and enhance their social interaction.
Less Medical Care : A
study conducted at UCLA found that dog owners required much
less medical care for stress-induced aches and pains than
Add years to your life : In
a study conducted at City Hospital in New York, it was found
that heart patients who owned the pets were significantly
more likely to be alive a year after they were discharged
from the hospital than those who didn't own pets. The presence
of a pet was found to give higher boost to the survival
rate than having a spouse or friends.
should point out in this connection that pets can be a source
of stress to some people. They may worry who will take care
of their pets when they die. In most cases, however, the need
to take care of the pets give a reason for living to many
terminally ill patients, prolonging their life span.
is surprising that it does not matter what the pet is to get
the therapeutic benefit. It could be a dog, a cat, parakeet,
a gold fish or anything else. The only thing which matters
is that the animal is of interest to you.
it is important that the pet you have selected fit your temperament,
living space and lifestyle. Otherwise it will be additional
source of stress. So, look over the pet and see whether the
chemistry is compatible before you decide to adopt one.
is possible that people who own pets may have different personality
traits than those who do not. Research has found that complex,
varied, and interesting daily activity is the strongest social
predictor of longevity. Pet ownership may affect people physiologically
through the soothing and relaxing effect of touch. And speechless
communication with a pet, or simply watching a cat or fish,
may produce a relaxation response with little demand on the
owners often feel needed and responsible, which may stimulate
the survival incentive. They feel they need to survive to
take care of their pets. (Many cancer patients with pets have
lived longer because they felt that their pets need them!)
Stroking a dog, watching a kitten tumble, or observing the
hypnotic explorations of fish can be an antidote to a foul
mood or a frazzling day.
such as dogs and cats provide unconditional, nonjudgmental
love and affection. And pets can shift our narrow focus beyond
ourselves, helping us to feel connected to a larger world.