Recently my Husband and I took our two boys to the zoo for the day. As we scanned our tickets and walked through the gate I found myself letting out a sigh of contentment which then got me thinking. What had caused me to feel like that? I have heard before that animals can reduce our stress levels but can it really be that effective? I decided to research into it a bit and this is a list of some benefits animals can have on our health….
In an article written for National Geographic News, Maryann Mott reports “Being around dogs can have a calming effect. Studies have shown that physiological changes occur when people touch dogs: a drop in heart rate, lower blood pressure, and reduced stress.”
Animals can also offer companionship – they don’t judge us. It can be easier to open up and talk about our worries and problems to an animal than a human.
Taking some time out to simply show our pets some love can do wonders for us too. Feeling them relaxing into the fuss and attention can have the knock on effect of us relaxing too.
Lower Blood Pressure
Animal expert Arden Moore suggests engaging animals in “happy talk,” or speaking in an upbeat tone. “Happy talk or laughter around animals releases hormones in humans that lower blood pressure, and make animals feel better too,” she says. Thinking happy thoughts when talking to your pet or speaking to birds and squirrels in your backyard may seem silly, but the conversation can put you at ease (even if it’s one-sided)”
Researchers at the Monash Injury Research Institute completed a pilot study that used animals, such as guinea pigs and rabbits, as therapists to teach children who have experienced domestic violence situations empathy and coping skills.
Dr Mudaly talks of one five-year-old girl who witnessed terrible violence towards her mother when the child was injured during one of these episodes. “When she came into the program she was mute, did not speak for months and would not leave her mother’s side,” Dr Mudaly said.The first words she spoke were to a guinea pig in the animal therapy program: “what’s your name?”A year later Dr Mudaly saw the child again. “She was flicking her long hair, talking about how she might work with animals when she grew up. She had so much to say and would not stop talking,” Dr Mudaly said.
Lower chance of having a cardiovascular Incident or Stroke.
A 10-year study by the University of Minnesota Stroke Center found that people with a feline at home were 40 per cent less likely to have a cardiovascular incident and 30 per cent less likely to have a stroke.
Improve Eating Habits
Malnourished Alzheimer’s patients are more likely to show a significant improvement in eating habits in the presence of a fish tank, according to studies published in the Western Journal of Nursing Research.