Research

Pet ownership good for health

It’s no surprise to many dog lovers that owning a dog can lead to a happier and more fulfilled life.

The research continues to mount with the latest study coming from Queensland that suggests getting out in a park for more than 30mins can lead to improved health – something most dog owners do on a very regular basis.

“There have been numerous studies done over the years that link a decrease in certain conditions to those of us who own pets,” Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia says.

More recently in Queensland, research has revealed that spending time in parks and nature can positively impact on blood pressure and overall mental health and wellbeing. The study, which was led by The University of Queensland and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, suggests that having a good dose of nature is good for your health.

The health benefits revealed in the study suggest that spending at least 30mins in a park reduced the risk of heart disease, depression, anxiety and stress.

“Most dog owners have weekly, if not daily interactions in nature and parklands,” Crighton says. “It’s another indication that owning a pet can have real, tangible health benefits.”

In Sweden, where it is mandatory to register canines, a study revealed that dog owners are at a lower risk of suffering from stroke, and heart failure. This is believed to be linked to the likelihood that dog owners are exercising daily, plus the positive physiological effects that owning a dog brings.

“The importance of having a family pet is more evident today than ever before,” Crighton says. “Recently the completion of a 10-year study in the UK proved that children are much more likely to confide in their pets than their siblings or friends.”

The bond with the family pet has helped countless children face a broad range of difficult and emotional issues.

“The role our pets play in our family is much larger and deeper than anyone could have imagined 20 years ago,” Pet Insurance Australia spokesperson Nadia Crighton says. “There is now concrete evidence that having a pet in our homes is a huge advantage for ourselves, and our children, on so many emotional and health levels.”

The love we have for our pets is being further documented across the globe. A recent study by a Japanese University has confirmed that the chemical ‘love hormone’ known as oxytocin is evident after dog’s gaze into their owner’s eyes.

Dogs can also help us to become more sociable.

“There has never been a better reason to get out and about with your dog,” Crighton says. “Your mind, body and dog will love you for it.”

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