The Power of Pets: The positive impact of pets on health and development.

“Pets are humanising. They remind us we have an obligation and responsibility to preserve, nurture and care for all life.” – James Cromwell.

Did you know that more than 80% of Australian households have pets? Our relationship with our pets is truly unique, as is the presence and energy they bring to our homes. While we all know pets can be great companions, an area of research called the ‘pet effect’ actually studies the benefits of pets to human health.

The family pet can improve the overall mental and physical health of your family in a variety of ways;

  • Physical health; Reduction in blood pressure, stress and improvements in cardiovascular health. Often linked with that sense of calm experienced while patting a pet or watching a fish swim peacefully in an aquarium.
  • Physical fitness; Dog’s tend to make the owners that walk them more physically active and thus reduces their risk of obesity.
  • Psychological development; Pets can be utilised to teach kids life long skills about responsibility and coping with loss when animals pass on. Pet’s provide opportunities for social interaction, fostering trust, a sense of community and empathy in kids.

Special therapy animals can be trained to act as guide dogs which is amazing, they can also encourage rehabilitation and even detect seizures in people. In education research, reading out loud as well as explaining a story to a dog in a relaxed environment, has been linked with an improvement in reading skills, comprehension and confidence in children. So even if you don’t have a pet take time to paws, reflect and appreciate the animals around you. 🙂

PHOTO CREDIT: Esme Buxton.

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