Animal Therapy: Health Benefits of Owning a Pet

Owning a pet can provide companionship, love and affection as well as therapy through a number of physical and psychological benefits.

A study carried out by the Cambridge University concluded that owning a pet improved overall health in just a month resulting in pet owners being generally fitter as well as suffering less from ailments such as headaches, colds and hay fever.

A domestic animal becomes reliant on someone to take care of them. It gives the owner routine and responsibility and a reason to wake up in the morning, as well as always having something to welcome you home after a busy day.


The University of New York research has resulted in pet owners being deemed as less stressed when their pet is near them and according to the Centre for disease control and prevention when you have a dog around your blood pressure is reduced. This in turn can help alleviate pain in people prone to migraines or arthritis as if you have less anxiety, there is less pain.

Owning a pet, a dog for instance can help to lower cholesterol and push the owner towards a healthier lifestyle through dog walking or even throwing a ball for the dog, increased activity which in turn burns calories.

For children the responsibility of growing up with pets can help with discipline and as a means to communicate if a child is diagnosed with ADHD or autism. It helps with routine and structure as well as often giving children that are lonely or have difficulty making friends company and someone who is there for them. They can also help improve a child’s immune system. Children between the ages of 5 -7 who have a pet in their home tend to attend school for three more weeks per year compared with children who do not own a pet. Owning a pet can help educate children to be more considerate of others, more caring and compassionate.

Animals are used as a form of treatment through animal therapy. Petting an animal can be soothing for people. Guide dogs are used as an aid to provide a degree of independence for the blind and horses are often used by those with a range of disabilities offering people of all ages that may suffer from physical, psychological, cognitive, social or behavioural problems an experience a fun  animal therapy session that can be life changing.

Organisations across the world are being seen to permit their employees to bring their pets into the work place. The incentive behind this benefit is to improve morale and increase productivity by minimising stress through creating a ‘fun’ working atmosphere. It also encourages employees to work longer hours due to not having the pressure to have to get home to walk the dog.

Benefits go beyond a happier work place by creating a work/pet friendly day a week as reduced employee absenteeism is also being recorded and a closer bond and team building spirit between employees as it encourages conversation and exercise.

If you own a pet then you are more than likely to have pet insurance. However, have you ever thought of the need to insure you and your families’ health or are you are a business owner reliant on healthy committed employees?

With medical insurance you can get so much more than just health insurance. Through some health insurance policies members can access health and wellbeing related discounts including information about charity events that you can take part in with your dog!

Call BDHL today for impartial professional advice on health care in the UK and globally.

 +44(0)1892 891900.