Numerous studies have been conducted to examine and analyze the beneficial effects of pet ownership. Some of the findings from research include:

  • Paired with a social support system, heart attack survivors who have a pet are more likely to have a higher one-year survival rate.[1]
  • The American Heart Association has noted that pet ownership, particularly with dogs, are “probably associated” with decreased cardiovascular disease risk.[2]
  • Children from dog owning households are more physically active[3], and in one study, young children (5‐6 year olds) from families with dogs were less likely to be overweight or obese.[4]
  • Multiple studies examining an exposure to pets in an early childhood found protective effects against the later development of both allergies and asthma.[5],[6],[7],[8]
  • Pets have also been found to play a role in managing stress. Data indicates that people who share their homes with pets have healthier responses to stress, such as a lower baseline heart rate and blood pressure[9],[10], and demonstrate less cardiovascular reactivity to, and faster recovery from, mild stressors.

Visit Pet Partners for more data related to the benefits of pets in therapeutic settings as well.


[1]http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/127/23/2353.full

[2]http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/127/23/2353.full

[3]Owen CG, Nightingale CM, Rudnicka AR, et al. Family Dog Ownership and Levels of Physical Activity in Childhood: Findings From the Child Heart and Health Study in England. American Journal of Public Health, 2010;100(9):1669‐71

[4]Timperio A, Salmon J, Chu B, et al. Is dog ownership or dog walking associated with weight status in children and their parents? Health Promotion Journal of Australia 2008;19(1):60‐63.

[5] Perzanowski MS, Rönmark, E., Platts‐Mills, T. A., & Lundbäck, B. Effect of cat and dog ownership on sensitization and development of asthma among preteenage children. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 2002;166(5):696‐702.

[6] Oberle D, Mutius, E. V., & Kries, R. V. Childhood asthma and continuous exposure to cats since the first year of life with cats allowed in the child’s bedroom. Allergy 2003;58(10):1033‐36.

[7] Platts‐Mills T, Vaughan, J., Squillace, S., Woodfolk, J., & Sporik, R. Sensitisation, asthma, and a modified The response in children exposed to cat allergen: a population‐based cross‐sectional study. The Lancet 2001;357(9258):752‐56.

[8] Hesselmar B, Aberg N, Aberg B, et al. Does early exposure to cat or dog protect against later allergy development? Clinical and experimental allergy 1999;29(5):611‐17.

[9] Allen K, Shykoff BE, Joseph L. Izzo J. Pet ownership, but not ACE inhibitor therapy, blunts home blood pressure responses to mental stress. Hypertension 2001;38:815‐20.

[10] Allen K, Blascovich J, Mendes WB. Cardiovascular reactivity and the presence of pets, friends, and spouses: The truth about cats and dogs. Psychosomatic Medicine 2002;64:727‐39.