Cause and Effect: Living with Pets Improves Their Owners’ Health
The decision to have a pet animal is traditionally far from being rushed; quite on the contrary, the potential owners of a house animal weigh all pros and cons carefully prior to having one.
Moreover, a range of people have prejudice against pets, such as the fear of losing it due to its comparatively short life expectancy (Sharkin and Knox 414), not to mention the fact that many people are allergic to animal fur, feces, etc., and, therefore, are incapable of having a pet and taking care of it.
However, studies show that the people, who have decided to adopt or purchase a pet animal, are most likely to experience a major improvement in their physical and mental health status due to the introduction of factors such as mood enhancement, the necessity to engage in physical activities, etc., and, as a result, experiencing positive emotions, as well as an overall improvement of their physical shape.
Experiencing positive emotions is, perhaps, the key cause that deserves to be mentioned as the factor contributing to the improvement in pets’ owners’ health. Indeed, the emotional connection and friendship, which a pet and its owner form, can be described as a rather deep attachment: “Pets may become core sources of emotional support; often older adults are quite attached to their animal companions” (Pachana 3).
Therefore, it is obvious that communication with animals, though rarely involving complete understanding, contributes to a drop in the owner’s mood swings and the development of a more positive approach towards emotion management. More importantly, the ownership of pets may finally trigger to the development of a high level of emotional intelligence among their owners.
The effect of the factor mentioned above is quite obvious. By preventing swings in the owner’s mood, regular communication with pets results in making the blood pressure and the heart rate of the person owning one rather stable. The possibility of the owner developing a depression, therefore, drops nearly to zero.
Another important factor that one becomes exposed to once becoming an owner of a pet and that can be viewed as a cause, regular physical exercises deserve to be mentioned: “potential behavioral mechanisms linking pet ownership to physical health might come from the fact that pets often require frequent and regular exercise, which could be provided in the form of a walk or jog around the block” (Utz 328).
While the specified factor cannot be considered characteristic of the lifestyle of people owning fish or exotic animals that are kept in terrariums, the people having dogs or even cats often have an opportunity of enjoying numerous physical exercises, such as regular walks, playing active games with the pet, etc.
The specified cause has a rather obvious effect; the people owning pets that require regular physical training and walks show an impressive increase in their physical activity rate and, therefore, not only develop an impressive stamina, but also impressive resilience against cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and rapid changes in blood pressure.
In addition, the ability to do physical exercises results in a significant reduction of obesity rates among pet owners. The specified effect can be considered especially important, as obesity leads to a variety of health concerns from CVD exacerbation to development of hypertension and even diabetes (Jung et al. 329). Therefore the effects of having pets and taking good care of them are quite obvious.
Finally, discussing the emotional connection between the owner and the animal mentioned above, one must admit that it can be viewed as a cause of another major effect. Particularly, the fact that pets may help people cope with loneliness and, therefore, contribute to the development of their social skills, deserves to be mentioned.
The specified effect can be viewed as especially important for the patients undergoing a therapy or being in the need thereof. In fact, the therapy approach known under the name of “pet therapy” (Mahar 185) and presupposing the development of positive emotions through communication with animals has been in existence for several decades and returned quite impressive results.
In other words, pets affect the process of social adjustment of the people, who need to integrate back into the society successfully. To be m ore exact, it is the interaction with the pet and the connection between it and its owner that can be viewed as the key cause of the owner’s further process of recovery and social adjustment.
The idea of having a pet may be viewed as delightful to some people and abhorrent to others, yet the ones that have animals as their pets are subjected to a range of factors affecting their health positively, such as exposure to consistent mood enhancement with the help of positive emotions, maintenance of stable blood pressure rates and, consequently, avoidance of CVD, etc. pets may be viewed as a major nuisance, yet the emotional connection, which their owners form with them, compensates for minor inconveniences and provides the environment for keeping in good shape both physically and mentally.
Jung, Keum Ji, Heejin Kimm, Ji Eun Yun, and Sun Ha Jee. “Thigh Circumference and Diabetes: Obesity as a Potential Effect Modifier.” Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 23.5 (2013): 329–336. Paradise Valley Community College Library.
Mahar, Patricia. “Pets in Therapy.” Therapeutic Recreation Journal 35.2 (2001): 185. Paradise Valley Community College Library.
Pachana, Nancy. “Pets as Social Support.” Nursing Older People 19.1 (2007): 3. Paradise Valley Community College Library.
Sharkin, Bruce C. and Donna Knox. “Pet Loss: Issues and Implications for the Psychologist.” Professional Psychology: Research and Practice 34.4 (2003): 414–421. Paradise Valley Community College Library.
Utz, Rebecca L. “Walking the Dog: The Effect of Pet Ownership on Human Health and Health Behaviors.” Social Indicators Research 116. (2014): 327–339. Paradise Valley Community College Library.
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