Published by the Wall Street Journal on 10-27-17 (MHConcierge tends to ignore the journals politics and political commentaries, and focus on the superb health, science, and technology reporting which appears to be free of political bias), “The Real Benefits of Pet Ownership; our animal friends may not make us healthier, but they earn in their keep in other ways.” This is an interesting and well with article that reviews the current research about the potential benefits of pets. Some of the older research nas not held up very well, but current research is refining our understanding of the potential benefits of owning a pet.

For example, in the past research appeared indicate that dog owners were generally in better shape than nonowners. Recent research, however, establishes that that the health of the owners likely to be related to things like race, marital status, and social economic status, and concludes, “Rather than pets making people healthy, it’s more likely that healthy people choose to own pets.” And, walking a dog usually is not done with enough intensity to improve cardiovascular fitness.  Another study found that children raised in a household with pets are actually, in contrast to previous studies, not more socially skilled and do not have higher self-esteem. Once again, these traits are likely to be a result of factors in the family, not the pet.

Recent studies do find that there are benefits to owning a pet. Socially-as many dog walkers know-there is the “pet affect,” which helps engage people in that community when walking the pet. The author of the article concludes, “Pets help build communities, breaking down barriers between people and paving the way for the illness networks of friendships.”

The article is available for free online, but if you view more than a few articles per month on the website you may need to subscribe access more.

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