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Your_Majesty's avatar

Will pets make your life longer?

Asked by Your_Majesty (8235points) January 19th, 2010

Many books claim that there are some benefits of having a pet for your healthiness(longer life,lower stress level,good personality,safeness,etc.),although some people don’t believe it. is this simply a rumor?. I know it must has some scientific basis on it,but I’m curious about how does it work(Physically,psychologically,biologically,or else?).
Is it only work on furry creature(dog,cat,rabbit,etc) or will it work on other creature as well?(fish,bird,snake,etc). I know that feeling will play a role on it,but there must be something else.

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28 Answers

Ghost_in_the_system's avatar

They give you a reason to move even if you don’t want to. Having motivation does help.

faye's avatar

Their antics can often lighten the load, make you smile. If you take your dog for walks you are getting exercise. I think they’ve proven rhythmic petting of a cat will lower the petter’s BP.

Val123's avatar

I’ve heard that they will. Mine, however, are bent on shortening my life. Them, combined with all of the MUD they’re tracking in all the time. I wish it would dry out.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Lowering your stress levels reduces your risks for coronary heart disease and stroke. Regular exercise ever if it is not aerobic is still healthier than no activity at all. Loneliness is stressful and there is evidence that lonely people do a poorer job of caring for themselves.

Having pets you interact with lowers stress levels. Walking your dogs regularly gets you outside the house and walking around. It is easier to meet new people when are walking your pet. For me, having dogs to care for helped me feel less lonely while my wife was a way for months because of a life crisis in her family required her to be away for two months.

There is empirical evidence in the literature to support these statements. If you need the references for some specific academic purpose, I will try to locate then. Of course anybody can do the appropriate literature search.

Cruiser's avatar

Wanting and feeling love is a basic human need for most who have a beating heart…Almost any pet will give you unconditional love which can be tremendously uplifting and enriching to the human spirit and would only make sense a happy heart and soul would live longer. Anything like a loving pet that takes your mind off the day to day stresses will be incredibly beneficial.

oratio's avatar

Not exactly prolong. I think sharing, caring and happiness can give a full life instead of existence wearing you down to a shorter one.

But it also depends on how skilled you are at driving ยป

Your_Majesty's avatar

@All,Thank you for your answers!. Very informative!.

@Dr Lawrence No,thanks,I appreciate that but I’ve already read some literature about that.

marinelife's avatar

There are scientific studies that show that this is true:

“According to a study by the Minnesota Stroke Institute that followed more than 4,000 cat owners over 10 years, owning a cat can dramatically reduce a person’s chance of dying from heart disease [source: Mundell].” Source

“The Baker Medical Research Institute in Australia conducted a large-scale study of over 5,000 people and found that in general, pet owners had lower blood pressure levels than people who did not own pets. Other studies have shown that pet owners heal better and more quickly after surgery and have reduced risk factors for cardiovascular disease.” Source

Pcrecords's avatar

I think they’re like a family member and it helps to have them around.

cyn's avatar

they make my life happier.

flo's avatar

They say emotional well being is important, so it might translate to longer life. When people are in hospital after a trauma, etc., their will to live counts for a lot they say.

ChocolateReigns's avatar

I was about to answer but @Cruiser, @Dr_Lawrence, and @faye took the words out of my jellyfish mouth.

life_after_2012's avatar

i don’t think so, they can sure make life a little easier to deal with.

Val123's avatar

@life_after_2012 Or more complicated. Depends on the situation!

gailcalled's avatar

Milo here: I expect to shorten Gail’s life, what with the snow, cold and ice and me being stuck inside. My normally charming and ingratiating personality has morphed into that of a sabertooth tiger’s.

clioi's avatar

I personally made my cat a horcrux, so it’s definitely made my life longer since I’m now immortal.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I could introduce you to my ex-wife. She will make your life seem interminably long.

rooeytoo's avatar

My dogs enrich my life, I will let you know sometime in the future if they lengthen it.

Ron_C's avatar

I am pretty sure they do unless it is an uncontrollable parrot. The noise is nerve wracking. I have read that they now have cats and dogs in rest homes and mental institutions because they help calm nerves and give people something to think about instead of just themselves.

This reduction of stress has a tendency to lower blood pressure and diverts your attention from pain (I speak from experience in this subject) One of the ways to live a longer more health live is to keep stress low. So yes having a pet does help you live longer.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I recently watched this programme that claimed that dog owners are less likely to suffer from heart attacks.

j3fr0's avatar

Suppose general happiness makes ya live life abit longer so erm i guess it depends whether pets make ya happy oh and keep ya fit?...

engineeristerminatorisWOLV's avatar

Only if handled with care.If you don’t take necessary precautions, your life span may reduce due to the fur hazards.Yes their fur keep on falling and it’s every where in house and get’s into your system carying a lot of germs.If you are not cautious about it,health hazards might creep in depending on your immunity.

rooeytoo's avatar

That’s the most paranoid germaphobic thing I have ever heard!

gailcalled's avatar

@engineeristerminatorisWOLV : By “handle with care,” do you mean masked, gowned and gloved? There is only one way to pet or pick up a pet. Like a baby, either you do or you don’t.

Milo here; I am fastidious, pristine, and germ-free. Gail is the one who forgets to lick herself clean every two or three hours. Even when hot on the trail of the few remaining living mice, I often stop for a nice sponge bath.

engineeristerminatorisWOLV's avatar

@gailcalled : I agree,that there’s only one way to pick up a pet.By “Handle with care”, I mean to keep the pet and the house clean.Not to let your animals become a breeding ground for germs and diseases.Proper vaccination at right time and keeping them clean.
My uncle took oughtmost care of his pet which was a German Spitz,but it reduced his lifespan for not being that much careful about himself.Dog fur was everywhere.In food,on clothes and at places where one would expect it to be the least.He was diagnosed of cancer and further research revealed that it was due to accumulation of fur in his respiratory system.
I don’t think he should have masked or gloved himself while dealing with the dog,but atleast he should have taken extra precautions to clean up stuffs like pillows,clothes etc before using them.He wasn’t ignorant,but sometimes he took things really easy and paid the ultimate price for it.

rooeytoo's avatar

If dog hair is a direct cause of cancer, then there would be a lot of dead dog groomers around.

Also if you listen to the old country vet, dogs don’t need annual vaccinations. It’s a money maker for the new marketing expert vet. Humans generally only get small pox, polio, etc. vaccine once in a lifetime. Blood titers are a better option.

engineeristerminatorisWOLV's avatar

Dog hair is not direct cause of cancer,but when foreign objects get into the system and accumulate over a place for a period of time along with infections,things might change for the worst.Dogs don’t need annual vaccinations,but they need the bare minimum as you have explained and not to forget rabies which is a must.

Winters's avatar

The thing is is whether or not said pet makes you happy. If said animal stresses you out a lot, then no. But if you love your pet and your pet brings you joy, then yes, it can most certainly help increase your life span by a bit.

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