In the United States alone, 65 percent of households own a pet, which translates into 79.7 million families. The vast majority of those pets are cats and dogs (163.6 million total; 85.8 and 77.8 million, respectively), with an additional several million small mammals and birds also enjoying pet status (and countless fish). If you are or have ever been a pet parent, especially to a dog or cat, you can probably list several benefits of such a relationship, with companionship being high if not at the top of the list.
But our four-legged, feathered, and even finned friends also are good for our health—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Most people name having therapy dogs as a way animals help people with health issues, and the many services they provide are truly outstanding. These special canines, along with horses, run-of-the-mill alley cats, adopted shelter dogs, pet rabbits, chatty parrots, and aquarium fish can provide health advantages for humans in multiple ways.
1. Provide pain relief.
Therapy dogs have a positive effect on patients’ level of pain after procedures, such as total joint arthroplasty, or more generally, as seen among people with fibromyalgia who spend time with a therapy dog.
Read more: care2.com