"Look at my cat napping!". Two minutes later: "And here she looks so cute." pet owners are fearless when it comes to their pets. You do yourself some good in the process.
"Animals do good" is said again and again. Sure, walking around outside with the dog can't hurt. But what is really true about the thesis? In fact, there are some studies that have found positive effects of animals on people.
"For decades, a social psychological approach to research dominated the study of certain effects of pets on their owners," says Detlev Nolte, secretary general of the Research Group on Pets in Society in Bremen, Germany. The results were based primarily on interviews and observations. Slowly, however, scientifically based research approaches would have developed.
Physical effects, too
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Dogs in the office – a perennial topic of contention. A new study, for which employees and personnel managers were interviewed, shows: pets clearly have a positive effect on the workforce.
Today, there is ample evidence that pets are good for their owners – in many ways. For example, there are the physical effects, that is, the physical effects on pet owners.
One is fairly obvious, but no less important because of it: "According to a study by U.S. scientists, 150 minutes of exercise per week is enough to have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system," explains cardiologist Ralf Jordan, chief physician at the Clinic for Cardiological Rehabilitation and Prevention in Duisburg. Dog owners are more likely to achieve this time than people without dogs.
In addition, people who exercise every day in the fresh air have a stronger immune system, according to studies. "A dog forces you to go out regularly, but even people who have or look after a horse have to get out of their home again and again," says Udo Kopernik, spokesman for the German Canine Association in Dortmund.
Blood prere and heart rate benefit
But you don't always have to leave your own four walls. "It's now been proven that the mere presence of animals, and especially petting them, helps a lot in lowering people's blood prere and heart rate," says cardiologist Jordan. The sympathetic nervous system is less active, which is why fewer stress hormones such as adrenaline are released. However, this is less true for goldfish than for dogs, cats or small animals.
"Several researchers have also found that physical activity positively affects chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, hypertension and chronic bronchitis," says Jordan. Exercising with animals can help. Diseases remained more often at a constant level, and the number and intensity of attacks such as bronchitis could be reduced.
Pets can act as icebreakers
"The dog is a kind of door opener to the heart"
For many owners, their four-legged friend is actually man's best friend. Dogs are therefore also particularly valuable in therapy: they meet us without prejudice – thus creating trust.
In addition to the physical effects, animals can also be good for the psyche. The main thing to remember here is that those who live alone and have a pet not only feel less lonely, but actually find it easier to connect with other people. This has been proven by various studies. "Animals can have the function of an icebreaker and facilitate contacts in the social environment," Detlev Nolte describes the phenomenon.
If you walk your dog outside, you're more likely to be approached than if you're just lugging two grocery bags home. If you keep a budgie in a retirement home, you're more likely to get visitors from fellow residents, and a cat may make neighbors in an otherwise anonymous apartment building curious, too. "Animals create an innocuous occasion for conversation," says Nolte. "I can just ask how the bird is doing today and get into the conversation that way."
Psyche: Dog and cat as help with sadness
In addition, there is the good feeling of being needed by one's animal. "It's good for everyone," Kopernik says. Straight older humans, who retire after many years from the occupation or parents, whose house without children seems suddenly so empty, would feel an animal frequently as very pleasantly.
The same may be true for sick people: "Numerous studies indicate that an animal can be an additional motivation to get back on your feet," says Kopernik. This could be comparable to small children who need to be cared for, he said. "Then you just don't whine around for a long time, but see to it that you get well again quickly."
With sadness animals can help likewise. "Our research group once did a study on what function dogs had on children when their parents divorced," Nolte reports. The result: dogs can then act as a kind of neutral third party that simply listens to worries without saying anything in return. "Dogs clearly had the function of comforters. Of the interlocutor."But also adults often felt happier through animals." But even adults often felt happier because of animals. "Just the mere presence or touch of an animal can help calm down."
This dog tries to save his dead buddy
A dog tries to save his lifeless friend from the street. It takes him a while to realize that his fellow animal is beyond help. The farewell is heartbreaking.