Pets as a remedy
Pets as an irreplaceable remedy for every kind of pain (Topic 1)
Pets have always played a significant role in people’s lives. Not only do they provide an entertainment, company, bring light and energy to our lives, but also have a good influence over our health and mood. They can benefit human health in surprising areas such as allergies, depression, heart disease, or high blood pressure. While most pet owners are clear about the immediate joys that come with sharing their lives with companion animals, many remain unaware of the physical and mental health benefits. Therefore, I’m going to discuss these effects and I would like to concentrate precisely on causes of some types of diseases that the presence of pets may cure.
The first disease that pets might help to prevent is allergy. Although it seems to be quite the opposite that it is pets’ fur that people are allergic to, raising a child with a company of a pet results in creation of immune system and the child has a reduced risk of developing common allergies. Researches show that babies raised in a home with two or more dogs or cats were up to 77% less likely to develop various types of allergies than kids raised without pets. Despite many studies that prove exactly the opposite, this seems to be quite logical, because when a person has contact with some factors from the beginning of his life, he becomes accustomed to it and it doesn’t affect his organism.
The second benefit is that pets help to keep blood pressure on an accurate level. In 2002 a research was conducted during which people were put into a stressful situation and scientists were checking what changes occur in their heart rate and blood pressure in stressful circumstances. People with a dog or a cat had lower resting heart rates and blood pressure measures at the beginning of the experiment, they were also less likely to have spikes in heart rates and blood pressure while being under stress, and their heart rates and blood pressure returned to normal more quickly that the people who don’t own a pet. The pet owners were also less stressed when their pet was present during the experiment. In this case pets not only lower the level of stress, but also limit the risk of high blood pressures, strokes and other problems with heart rate.
Pets, especially dogs are also helpful to elder people with diseases like dementia or Alzheimer’s. The dogs which are used in therapies for elder are subjected to rigorous training, they are assessed by their temperament and obedience to make sure that the pet will be appropriate for an elder person. One study proves that even a short contact with a pet can ease agitation in people with Alzheimer's. This effect is particularly noticeable in the evenings, when the patient tends to be more agitated and confused. Studies at the University of Nebraska prove that dog therapies can enhance social interactions between people with Alzheimer’s. During this experiment 12 people suffering from this disease were observed while having a contact with a dog. It has been noticed that these people were more inclined to smile, laugh, touch or verbalize. It was also proved that pets may help to prevent from having Alzheimer’s. Petting and stroking a dog or a cat can be very relaxing, slowing heart rate and lowering blood pressure. Stress and high blood pressure have both been linked to an increased risk for this disease.
I think that the most interesting instance proving animals’ beneficial influence over our health is a situation when a pet is able to anticipate the coming seizure in people with epilepsy. However, their natural reaction might be violent and dangerous, they can hurt themselves or attack an ill person because of the strong signals they receive from this person. That is why an organization in England called Support Dogs has developed a special training for dogs to teach them how to react when a seizure is coming. Once trained, these animals are able to anticipate a seizure and warn their master up to 45 minutes before. What are the ways that a pet gives a warning to his master? For instance, when the person is watching TV while the seizure is coming, the pet simply blocks the view or starts whining until the person understands what is happening. This provides the person involved with time to take appropriate actions to protect themselves against potential injury. Being aware of the danger helps people to take more control over their lives and become more relaxed in social situations.
The last thing I want to describe is influence of pets over our physical condition. People who have a pet that demands a walk couple of times a day are in better condition that non-owners. It is an obvious fact and there are no proves required. A pet can be a great fitness motivator, which is why pet owners tend to have lower cholesterol and are more physically fit. Dog owners in particular tend to be in decent physical shape and healthier in general. Studies have found that people are more likely to obey a fitness regimen when they have a pet. A dog can be a great fitness partner to keep one on track with daily walks and jogging.
Summing up, it has always been known that pets are full of beneficial powers that influence people’s physical and mental health which is proved by numerous researches. Therefore, one of the best ways to keep oneself healthy without any kind of medical treatment is to get a pet which will help prevent or cure some diseases. I hope that thanks to my essay some people became aware of these powers and maybe it will convince them that there is another, natural way of keeping our body in health. Pets are the best natural remedy.
1. Casciotti D. “Pets and Health: The Impact of Companion Animals”, accessed April 2011. http://center4research.org/healthy-living-prevention/pets-and-health-the-impact-of-companion-animals/
2. Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, “Pets Prove Soothing to People with Alzheimer’s”, accessed February 14, 2007. http://www.alzinfo.org/02/articles/caregiving-13
3. Kirchheimer S. “Pets May Prevent Allergies in Kids”, accessed October 14, 2003. http://www.webmd.com/allergies/news/20031014/pets-may-prevent-allergies-in-kids
4. Lejus O. “Pet Therapy for Epilepsy”, accessed October 2012. http://www.novamagazine.com.au/article_archive/2012/2012-10-pet-therapy-for-epilepsy.html