Dr Ally’s Blog
The Human-Animal Bond
Welcome to our first official blog post! This blog is dedicated to increasing knowledge and awareness of various aspects of your pet’s health and happiness. If there is a topic you wish to have addressed, please do not hesitate to let us know.
If you are reading this, than likely you already have a four legged, furry friend sharing your household (maybe in some cases ruling the household!) Perhaps you have a cat walking across your keyboard or blocking your line of vision at this very moment. Or you have a wet dog nose gently placed on your knee waiting to be pet. You likely already understand the strength of the human animal bond.
The American Veterinary Medical Association defines the human-animal bond as: “A mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviours that are essential to the health and well-being of both. This includes, but is not limited to, emotional, psychological, and physical interactions of people, animals and the environment. The veterinarian’s role in the human-animal bond is to maximize the potentials of this relationship between people and animals.”
I am sure you all understand this bond and don’t need a fancy definition to explain what you already know. But did you realize how big a role our pet’s play in our lives? Here are some interesting facts that you may relate to:
- Dog owners are more likely to participate in moderate to vigorous physical activities. Dog owners walk an average of 300 minutes per week, compared to non-dog owners that only walked 168 minutes.
- Pet owners have better physiological well-being overall, and feel less afraid of being a victim of crime.
- Children exposed to pets during their first year of life, have a lower risk of developing asthma, rhinitis and allergies.
- Pets provide stress relief; simply petting your dog can release ‘feel good’ chemicals in your brain that improve your mood. Speaking of stress, pet owners have lower blood pressure and have decreased risks of certain illnesses.
- A study involving 240 couples determined that when conducting a stressful task, people experienced less stress when their pets were with them compared to a spouse or a friend!
- Animal assisted therapy is on the rise in North America. Animals are now being used to help in the treatment of certain conditions such as cancer, eating disorders, depression and grief response.
- Senior citizens who own pets have 21% less visits to their physician.
- Owners often confide in their pets during times of grief or difficult situations.
These are just a few of the many researched facts that show how amazing our furry friends are. One thing is for certain, the relationship between you and your pet/pets is one of the strongest on the planet. Is there anything better than coming home after a long day of work and having your dog greet you like they haven’t seen you for years? Or petting your feline friend on the head, only to have them respond with endless purring. As veterinarians, we adore this bond and it is often one of the main reasons we choose this career. Our goal is to help maintain a happy and healthy bond for as long as possible. We want to be part of this special relationship from the moment you bring in your bouncing-off-the-walls Labrador for his first vaccine; to the final moment years later when his face has greyed, and it is time to say goodbye. This bond is the most rewarding, and we are so lucky to get to enjoy it. Please continue reading our blog for further posts on ways to keep your pet feeling healthy and happy for years to come!