Australia is a nation of pet lovers, and has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, and recent research suggests that not only are pets beneficial to our personal health and wellbeing, but people who have pets are saving the economy money.
A study by the RSPCA found that study found that Australian ownership of cats and dogs saved approximately $3.86 billion in health expenditure over one year. Another study conducted by the National Centre for Health Research in the USA found that animals may improve heart health by lowering blood pressure and regulating the heart rate during stress. This means pet owners are at a lower risk of heart disease or stroke, and are generally happier and less depressed than those who do not own pets.
In addition to this, recent research by the RSPCA has also discovered that our furry companions can have a number of psychological benefits for kids and teenagers, and improve family harmony.
- A study of school children showed that pet owners were more popular, but also seemed more empathetic.
- Pet owners report less depression and appear to cope with grief, stress and loss better than non-pet owners.
- Pets are also great caregivers. They keep us company when we’re sick or feeling down. They can make us feel safe while we’re home alone and they keep an eye on the house while we’re out.
- Growing up with a dog (and other pets to a lesser extent) during infancy may help to strengthen the immune system and may reduce the risk of allergies.
- Children who have pets are less likely to miss days of school due to illness.
- Families with pets spend a lot more time interacting with each other.
- Families with pets have a basis for fun activities and friendly conversation including the important topics of life.
- Those who have pets, including children or adolescents, have been shown to have higher self-esteem. Teenagers who own pets have a more positive outlook on life and report less loneliness, restlessness, despair and boredom.
Maybe getting a puppy isn't such a bad idea after all?
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