Why do we smile at a puppy, coo at a kitten, tell our work problems to our faithful dog, and kiss our chatty bird? The universal answer is that we love them, but pet owners show love in many different ways, ranging from feeding our dog extra treats to purchasing special bedding for our purring pal. Our relationship with our treasured pets carries benefits that go well beyond the surface. According to the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC), pets can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and feelings of loneliness. Even more, they can add a positive glow to our lives by providing opportunities for exercise, especially when outdoors, and opportunities for socialization. In addition, activities with pets draw in other pet lovers, allowing for connections to be made between owners.
In a recent study by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), some interesting information about pet owner-pet relationships was revealed. Dr. Douglas Aspros, President of AVMA, noted “It’s interesting to see that more and more single people are discovering the comfort and satisfaction that owning a pet can offer. Pets are powerful, positive influences on our lives, offering unique emotional, psychological and physical health benefits to their owners. Unfortunately, despite these positive trends, people aren’t bringing their pets into the veterinarian as often as they should. That trend is worrisome, not only in terms of the pet’s health but in terms of public health. Families, no matter what size, need to bring their pets into the veterinarian – at least once a year – to maintain optimal health.” The study cited that divorced, widowed and separated people showed an increase in pet ownership from 51 percent in 2006 to 60 percent in 2011. Pet ownership was up especially among people who were divorced, widowed, or separated. Single men, in particular, also showed a significant increase. Overall, singles’ pet ownership increased by 17 percent versus family ownership which grew by only 1.4 percent during these same years. It’s noteworthy that single individuals seem to have caught on to the phenomenon of the human-animal bond and all the benefits it brings to life.
Which pet is #1 in the hearts of their owners? The study indicated that 67 percent of dog owners considered their dog a member of their family, an increase of 13 percent from 2006. Coming in at a very close second, cats fared almost as well in the hearts of their owners: 56 percent of them considered their cat a member of their family, a 7 percent increase from 2006. Dr. Jane Brunt, executive director of the CATalyist Council, a national initiative comprised of animal health and welfare organization advocating for cats, said “We’re happy to see that people are growing more attached to cats, because cats are great pets that add so much to our lives. Unfortunately, the affection that we feel for our cats, and the affection that they give us back, isn’t being reflected in the amount of veterinary care that cats receive. The AVMA survey shows us that while we love our cats more, we’re growing much less likely to take them into the veterinarian for regular care. Cat owners across the country need to remember to bring their pets into the veterinarian – at least once a year – to maintain optimal health.”
We hope our clients will continue to gain the benefits of the human-animal bond for many years, and we hope that you will entrust us with your pets’ care to for the best chance to live long, healthy lives.