To the editor:
My name is Ashley and I am a student at Lindbergh High School. Last semester, I studied the effects of owning a pet on the overall health of people for my human anatomy class. After thorough investigation and research, I have concluded that owning a pet greatly contributes to human physical and mental health in very positive ways.
For instance, people who own pets are scientifically proven to live longer due to a decreased chance of getting heart diseases. This is due to animals helping to lower blood pressure and reduce stress by releasing oxytocin and increasing cortisol when interacted with. Additionally, people who own pets are more likely to be active, therefore decreasing obesity and being overweight. This is due to pets needing to be outside and walked, which provides daily exercise for the owner. People who own pets tend to reach the daily walking goal set by the American Heart Association than those who don’t. Lastly, people who own pets have been shown to have decreased levels and symptoms of anxiety and depression. Owning a pet gives people a sense of purpose and self-worth since the pet relies on the owner to live. Also, interacting with animals provides anxiety relief to those experiencing anxious thoughts.
Although there are many benefits of owning a pet, there are some negative aspects that have to be looked at. Keeping a pet in a home leads to an increased risk of disease transmission. Painful infections such as ringworm, hookworm and tapeworm can be transmitted to humans. These infections cause discomfort but are easily treatable with medications. Transmission can also be prevented by keeping a pet up to date on vaccinations. Pets also pose another con of an increased risk of falls and broken bones due to their nature to run around, jump and get under people’s feet. Broken bones and falls lead to hospital visits and hospital bills. This, however, can definitely be prevented by dedicating time to training a pet.
All in all, the benefits of owning a pet on health and mental health greatly outweigh the negatives. Owning a pet increases the quality and duration of one’s life by reducing stress, anxiety, and increasing physical activity and a sense of self-worth. If someone wants to be healthy, they should consider welcoming a pet into their home.