The Human-Animal Bond: How Having a Fur Friend can Help Us Cope
As life in the modern world gets faster, busier, and ever more complicated, feeling overwhelmed becomes the norm. Walking in the door after a stressful day to find a familiar doggie face and wagging tail, or hearing a soothing purr as a kitty winds around your legs, can make all your worries melt away.
What makes the human-animal bond so special? It’s part science, part evolution, and part mystery – and the team at Conrad Weiser Animal Hospital wants to share what we’ve discovered about this special connection.
The Human-Animal Bond Decoded
By definition, the human-animal bond is a mutual connection between human and animal. This connection has benefited our species for thousands of years, starting out with the first wolves to join forces with early humans and evolving to include everything from farm animals to wildlife. In fact, the argument can be made that, without certain animals, human society never would have become what it is today.
Besides bringing huge amounts of love, joy, and meaning to individual homes and families, a connection to animals is an important part of healthcare, social services, the military, the police force, and a variety of government agencies.
Beyond the Basics
It’s pretty obvious how the human-animal bond affects our furry friends. Pets, working animals, and service animals can lead fantastic lives under the care of loving and responsible humans.
The ways in which this unique relationship impacts humans, however, may be more involved. Animals can be a huge boost to our mood, give our lives meaning, and have a number of scientifically proven health benefits.
- Blood pressure – Numerous studies have revealed that living with, or even petting an animal can have a positive impact on blood pressure. Studies also show that pets help lower blood pressure by encouraging exercise and decreasing overall stress.
- Mood altering – In addition to lowering blood pressure, petting an animal has been shown to increase levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain, two chemicals responsible for feelings of happiness and contentment.
- Social connections – Owning a pet provides us with plenty of opportunities to interact with neighbors and other pet owners. This is especially important for seniors or anyone who has trouble meeting or interacting with other people.
- Immune benefits – Children who grow up with one or more animals in the home are less likely to develop allergies and asthma than those who don’t have a pet.
- Exercise – Most pets require daily exercise to thrive. Whether it’s a daily walk with their dog, playtime with a cat, or the interaction with small mammals or exotics, pets encourage all of us to get off the couch and play.
- Independence – The bond between a service animal and their handler is like no other. Service animals provide help with daily tasks, alert their handlers to oncoming medical emergencies, and otherwise support their independence.
- Emotional health – Dogs, horses, llamas, cats, and more make incredible therapy animals, providing essential comfort for individuals suffering from PTSD and a variety of other mental and emotional struggles.
Have you experienced the benefits of the human-animal bond? We would love to hear about it the next time you bring your pet in to see us at Conrad-Weiser Animal Hospital, or simply post to our social media. And as always, don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions or concerns regarding your best pal.
Conrad Weiser Animal Hospital:
Where big city medicine and surgery meet small town customer service and value.