In today’s world, no home is complete without a furry friend. The majority of households in Western countries keep pets. Cats and dogs are the most common ones so far. In addition to being another family member, they may even provide health benefits.
There is a lot of medical literature to prove pets are beneficial for the health. Secondly, trained pets also help people with several health conditions.
For instance, trained dogs may help people with physical and even mental disabilities. At the moment, specific breeds of dogs are also in the limelight for being able to detect cancer formations.
That’s not the only benefits pets may have to offer. Many people assume that pets pave the way for more health issues. This may be true in specific cases like asthma or people with allergies can face problems.
However, pets bring no such problems generally. More and more research now shows that the advantages of pets outweigh potential harms.
Since there is now almost a global pandemic of mental health issues, the role of pets is more important. According to some researchers in previous studies, a furry friend should be a part of all such treatments.
Now, new research provides further evidence of the advantages of keeping a furry friend at home. More specifically, it examines the effects of a pet on the physiology of a person. The findings of the study appear in the journal AERA Open.
What Was the Research Methodology?
Most of the people state that their furry friend helps them relax after a long day at work. Now, such effects have explanations and there is scientific backing to this impact of pets.
In the new study, there was a recruitment of around two hundred and forty-nine participants. All of these were college students. They were further divided into four groups. In the first group, the participants had ten minutes to play with a pet.
The participants in the second group had to watch the people from the first group play with a furry friend while waiting for their turn.
On the other hand, the third group only saw random pictures of the pets. Lastly, the fourth group only had to sit and watch.
Before this experiment, the team collected saliva samples. The same practice was repeated after the interaction with the pets.
After that, there were tests to determine cortisol levels in the samples. To do so, the researchers used the method of multivariate linear regression analyses.
The purpose of this was to look at the impact of pets on stress levels. Cortisol is a hormone that is mainly responsible for stress and related issues.
What Was the Result?
After the observation, the researchers noted that the first group had the lowest cortisol levels. The levels of cortisol before playing with a furry friend did not change these results.
Before, the researchers were aware that the participants did enjoy playing with the pets. However, they did not know that there would be a significant change in the cortisol levels. They hope that further research can help people in controlling stress, specifically students as it is a major problem today.