National Pet Day was founded in 2006, in part to celebrate the joy pets bring to our lives. It’s also a fantastic reason to post pics and shout outs of our pets on social media (as if we need an excuse). There are no shortage of ways that pets make our lives better—from their loyalty, to their constant companionship, to their ability to always bring a smile to our faces. But the power of pets goes beyond the normal day-to-day delights. There’s a growing body of research showing the impact pets can have on our lives. A few highlights:

Pets can benefit older adults

Some studies suggest pets can help senior citizens increase their activity level, maintain their mobility and reduce loneliness. Seniors with pets may also have reduced risk factors for cardiovascular disease and are less likely to be on medication. You can see more benefits in this infographic, created by Mars Petcare and Waltham.

Pets can have a positive impact on our mental and physical wellbeing

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) launched The Pet Effect campaign to share evidence of how pets have been shown to alleviate depression, support child development and assist in treatment for conditions such as Alzheimers, autism and post-traumatic stress. Take a look at their site for infographics and videos that share some of their findings.

Pets can be motivators and stress relievers for children

Better Cities for Pets™ published a blog post on the positive impact of pets in the classroom. A recent study found that when pets are in the classroom, kids are more likely to follow instructions and stay focused. They can also help them learn responsibility and empathy.

For kids dealing with trying times, therapy dogs are able to provide emotional support and comfort. Check out the video below about Rocklin, a therapy dog assigned to the courthouse to help kids through difficult situations.

 

The impact of pets on our lives never ceases to amaze. But for anyone who has experienced the joy pets bring, it also doesn’t surprise.