A 2002 study supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) found that children who live in homes with more than one pet in their first year of life are about 70% less likely to develop allergies as children who live in homes with one or no pets.
But allergy protection is not the only benefit of pet ownership. The RSPCA reports that the benefits of owning an animal include:
- Overall health Pet-owners have fewer visits to the doctor and use fewer medications
- Overall wellbeing Pet-owners have less risk of depression and are better able to cope with grief and loss than non-pet owners
- Teen mental health Research has shown that teenagers who own pets have a more positive outlook on life and report less loneliness, restlessness and boredom
- Increased physical activity Pet owners are more likely to be active, particularly if they own a dog
- Social interactions Pets can enhance your social skills – who knows who you might bump into on your walk!
- Child health Studies have indicated that children who have pets including dogs, cats, fish and birds, are also less likely to miss days of school.