No Surprise: Animals Are Good for Your Health


You Know This Without Science Telling You It’s Real

This is one of those lovely things that you pet people just know. No study needed to prove it, no skeptics can take it away from you, and you can verify it, in your own body and consciousness any time you like.

Just get up close to your dog, or cat, or horse, get your hands in their fur, see them respond to your touch and loving presence, and see how you feel.

Good, right? Peaceful, probably, and more sure of yourself, and validated for being a caring human by the one you care for.

Loved. Appreciated.

Is it all in your mind?

No, it’s clearly more than just your thoughts running away with your mind.

You know this intuitively, deeply, confidently.

Pet people just feel better when you contact and connect with those creatures who are truly yours. The ones who know they are yours, the ones who seek you out, and not just when it’s time to eat.

Let’s add the science in just because it’s interesting.

The Science, Anyway

Sometimes it’s further validating to hear what’s going on physiologically when you’re experiencing something so real.

Like being in love. Or being loved, by one who just loves you without judgment.

It turns out that there’s a whole lot going on when you hang with the animals you love. Among the measurable changes are these:

  • blood pressure decreases
  • cholesterol levels drop (take that, you statin hawkers!)
  • triglycerides drop
  • mood improves, especially depression and feelings of loneliness, the latter a more significant factor predicting early death than even obesity.
  • pain decreases in fibromyalgia sufferers, with as little as 15 minutes of cuddle time
  • less allergies and asthma in kids growing up with pets since infancy

A Two Way Street

Lest you think we humans are the only ones to benefit, there’s a group that’s measured the coherence of both human and dog heart rates dropping nearly simultaneously when they come together after being separated for a spell.

You’ll need to look past who sponsored the study, and just revel in the amazing findings presented in the video on this page.

Another study shows that oxytocin levels increase in both dog and human when they interact. When I learned of this hormone, all we knew 35+ years ago was that it was responsible for “milk let down.” Every dairy farmer knew this and worked it to get his cows to relax and let forth their bi-daily harvest.

Every nursing mom, especially is she is part of La Leche League, also knows this intimately. I remember “nursing pads” that my wife slipped into her bra because when baby Hannah cried just so, ready or not, the milk would flow!

It’s now known that oxytocin is also a major “feel good” hormone that stimulates social bonding, relaxation and trust, and wipes away stress. Dogs and their people experience oxytocin release simultaneously when they interact or even just gaze into each other’s eyes!

Cats: Good for Your Heart

Owning a cat, even in your past, lowered the relative risk of cardiovascular diseases, including death from heart attack and stroke. In this large study from 2009, researchers concluded,

Acquisition of cats as domestic pets may represent a novel strategy for reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases in high-risk individuals.”

Service Dogs: Ever New Ways to Be of Service

You are probably not surprised to know that dogs have way more receptors for picking up smells than we do. But do you know how many more?

Quite an amazing difference, actually. Researchers at Auburn University tell us dogs have 220 million olfactory receptors in their noses, while we have a mere 5 million.

So, is it any wonder that dogs are now sniffing out cancer quite effectively? Chemistry changes when cancer is growing, and the dogs can pick up the chemical signals in breath, urine, and sweat. They can be trained to pick up these volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in both early stage and more advanced cancers.

Imagine the comfort a furry warm dog might bring to a funeral home. Not the happiest place to be, right? Especially for young children who are likely experiencing the death of someone near to them for the very first time. They are confused, sad, and likely more than a little lost.

Enter Lulu, the Goldendoodle, who “works” at the funeral home of her owner, Matthew Fiorillo, and knows just how to comfort mourners. Reading the need, she’ll bounce around with kids or curl up next to sad older folks and allow petting.

Lulu even knows how to “pray,” and does it on command.

Eye to Eye, Hand to Fur, Feet to Pavement

So, animals are good for us. Those who walk dogs get more exercise and social interaction. My dad outlived my mom and died more gracefully. He was the dog walker, once I went off to vet school in another state.

This goodness and benefit is especially true when you’re living with remarkably healthy Vital Animals. I outline how to get and keep your animals naturally healthy throughout this website.

Here are a few great ways to get started unlocking more Vital Animal goodness:

  1. Join us in our free Vital Animal Pack. You’ll receive my popular newsletter Vital Animal News, have access to my free Bach Flower Remedies for Animals Course, and get a free ebook, Insider Immune Protocols, that tells how I boost my patients’ immune systems (and my own).
  2. Here’s a great place to begin your journey down the Natural Path. Some of my top articles to help you make wise decisions that are critical in determining your animal’s health outcomes.
  3. To get first alerts for upcoming courses if you’d like to go deeper with my teaching, sign up here. We’re in the midst of a great one now, and more are on the horizon.

Have any stories of the wondrous human animal bond affecting your own health or those of a loved one? Please share it with us in the comments below.

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  1. Angie Kasinger on October 21, 2016 at 7:57 am

    Hi I did try find comment to reply back to someone who said wld like to hear that a dog haven’t been taken away for not have vaccines up to date after when it someone. Well I’m here n it just happened last oct 9th she bit my sister’s husband’s brother’s son which mean my in-law nephew I think anyway it was pretty bad and my dog- she never ever bit any one before ever and when that had happened, we were shocked . We ran away of course luckily we was out of town visiting my sister when it happened. We ran away to home which is on the other side of mountain.. i of course follow rules n was told to keep dog isolated and blah blah .. I found out I missed her last shot was suppose to be last April 2015! Oh boy but then on the 19th came and went, she is fine. This Saturday will get her a vaccine update shot n then sent proof update paper work to my sisters town country animal controls etc..
    Just want u know that there is some ppl lucky get chance to keep unvaccained dog.

  2. Kathryn D Ladick on October 12, 2016 at 9:51 am

    I have severe PTSD and also chronic pain from 7 herniated disks. Most of these injuries came from being an abused wife for 19 years. I now have one of my dogs as a Service Dog,Diva helps me so much with my pain. When I can’t sleep she curls herself up to my back and the warmth of her body helps make the pain go away.
    I have nightmares and when Diva senses this,she climbs on top of me and wakes me up. I can’t go into stores,etc without her because I have anxiety so bad I simply won’t go in. She makes sure that my personal space is not invaded .What she does for me on a daily bases would fill volumes.
    I feel that she bring quality of life to me and I love her beyond words.
    And, she is all of 19 lbs and a breed that no one would thing of being a Service Dog as she is a basenji.
    I believe that without Diva,my life would be spent lock up in my room and never come out. She is my lifesaver.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on October 12, 2016 at 10:38 am

      Wow, Kathryn. Just wow. What an amazing service dog Diva is for you.
      I’ll also suggest this is curable. All of it. I’d be looking for an MD homeopath to help you if you really want to put it all behind you. Diva can go with you, or you may be able to find someone who’ll work by phone to get you the help you need.
      You can write me via my Contact page and let me know where you live if you’d like some help finding a good homeopath.
      All the best to you and Diva, the little healer dog. You are so fortunate to have her.

  3. Nora on October 11, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    I think the laughter that pets bring is probably the best medicine in the world. I laughed at the dog, who was also very playful, but the real clowns are the kitties. They are fabulous company and I talk to them throughout my day as if they were people…which they think they are. They don’t pick up their toys when they’re done playing, they don’t alert me when I’ve put on mis-matched shoes and they hog the bed, just like the people in my life.

  4. Laurie Raymond on October 11, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    Fifteen years ago, my partner was dying of stage 4 endometrial cancer. It was a brief (4 months from diagnosis to death) but intense journey, and severe pain was a nearly constant part of it. We had 3 cats at the time, who really didn’t like each other much, but managed to avoid conflict by taking turns with our attention and staking out different territories inside the house. One night, when the pain was especially bad and J. was lying contorted in the bed, all three cats marched in together, got up on the bed and formed a ring around J. and started to purr. They arranged their bodies so that all 3 were in direct but gentle contact, and they all had a purposeful demeanor totally unlike their usual affect. After a few moments, J. felt the pain begin to let up. Ten minutes later, she sat up and said, wonderingly, to the cats, “what is it you’re doing?” Each cat lay down and snuggled up to her and as she petted them, the last vestiges of the pain departed. A few more minutes and the cats got off the bed and left the room. J looked at me and said, “what just happened? They took the pain away. It’s gone!” And she had a peaceful night of good sleep, the first in a long time. And I never saw the three cats do anything together, ever again.

    • Juliana Pavelka-Johnston on October 11, 2016 at 9:11 pm

      Cat-Man would curl his tail around my arm and purr for me. It was so reassuring, and loving that he made me feel wonderful even if I had a hard day:) All animals are special.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on October 11, 2016 at 10:04 pm

      Oh my God, Laurie! That is so amazing! And from a creature who gets a regular bad rap about being self-centered. They clearly laid their differences aside and went to serve their suffering owner.
      And with amazing effect! Thanks for sharing that. Phenomenal.

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