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Active Retirees : Active Retirees Oct-Nov 2012
C ompanionship. Loyalty. Unconditional love. Most people who own a pet will list these as three of the main reasons for having an animal. Animals do not judge, they don’t expect anything but food, water and love, and they make their owners feel needed. A pet can also provide a range of health benefits. With 33 million pets registered in Australia, it’s clear that animals have a significant impact on our lives. According to the Australian Companion Animal Council (ACAC), of Australia’s eight million households, 2.9 million or 36 per cent, include a dog, 1.8 million house a cat, and there are approximately 18.4 million fish, just over eight million birds and over one million other pets including horses, guinea pigs and rabbits. Healthy pets, healthy lives Research has shown that there is a direct relationship between owning a pet and improved overall health, which can be exceptionally beneficial to people as they get older. Experts believe that the impact companion animals have on owners’ health is largely the result of lower stress levels, meaning the impact or incidence of any condition that is caused or exacerbated by high stress levels could be lowered by pet ownership. In the early 1980s, a study found that pet owners were less likely to die in the 12 months following a heart attack than non-pet owners. This was tested again in the 90s, finding the initial results accurate. The act of petting a dog or a cat has a calming effect. Dr Peter Higgins, veterinarian and Dogs NSW spokesperson, was involved in a study that looked at how pets can help their owners medically, as well as help people in hospital recovering from surgery or illness, and people in nursing homes. “Petting a dog can decrease your blood pressure quite significantly,” Dr Higgins says. “The study also found that people had an increased zest for life after they had spent time with a dog.” A 1992 study revealed that pet owners had lower levels of risk factors for heart disease, including lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol, while » Puppy love How do you handle the change of lifestyle heading into retirement? Filling your days with loving a little furry friend could help! Jessica Goulburn caught up with animal lovers and experts to get the lowdown on how to find the perfect pet. cover story StudioCommercial 28 | www.probussouthpacific.org
Active Retirees Aug-Sept 2012
Active Retirees Dec-Jan 2013