When thinking of ways to reduce stress in life, usually techniques like meditation, yoga and exercise come to mind. But getting a new best friend can also have many stress relieving and health benefits. The companionship offered by many pets is thought to be good for you for many reasons.
Dr Deborah Wells, who features in our radio report (to listen again access the audio below), reviewed dozens of research papers which looked at the health benefits of pet ownership, and she confirmed that pet owners tended in general to be healthier than the average member of the population. However, her research suggested that dog ownership produced more positive influence than cat ownership.
Research has also found how children who have pets as companions tend to take less days off from school. University of Warwick researchers found four and five-year-olds whose families kept animals had attendance levels 18% higher than their peers without pets. This, researchers claim, is more to do with just owning a pet and taking care of it, and having it live in the same house as you.
Previous studies have shown children whose families kept pets were less likely to have asthma or allergies. the underlying theory is that the immune system develops in relation to what it is exposed to.
Listen to this weeks radio report
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