Pets – Good for Your Health?

“Puppy love may help keep a person out of the doctor’s office,” says The Toronto Star. Over the past decade, various studies have shown that “companion animals are associated with lower stress, fewer doctors’ visits and even better survival rates after heart attacks. An animal may help stroke victims build strength and psychiatric patients quell anxiety.” Dr. Alan Beck, of Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine in Indiana, U.S.A., believes that “animals relax people. They’re a focus of attention, a focus of touching.” Such effects can occur even if the animal is not a family pet, and this has led to the rise of “animal-assisted therapy.” Some mental-health workers have thus encouraged patients with psychiatric disorders to spend time with a pet, with positive results.