Pets and Their People: Exploring the Human-Animal Bond

Playing with Happy DogAnyone who has ever lived with or spent time with animals can attest to the strength and depth of the human-animal bond. Books have been written about it, songs composed in its honor, and it’s been expressed in almost every form of artwork imaginable.

No doubt, this powerful bond between humans and the animals that inhabit our lives has shaped and defined us as individuals and as a society.

The Human-Animal Bond is Healthy

Contact with animals has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including:

  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Decreased incidents of depression

Children derive significant benefits from sharing their space with animals. Several studies suggest a strong link between growing up in a home with pets, whether dogs and cats or farm animals, and a lowered risk of allergies and asthma. Pets also offer children the chance to learn valuable lessons about compassion, empathy, and responsibility.

What’s in it for Them?

Our domesticated pets, especially dogs, have evolved to depend on humans for their survival. While still capable of surviving in the wild, there is no doubt that dogs flourish under the care of a devoted human. It can be assumed that the attachment a dog feels toward his or her owner is sincere.

Regardless of whether you share your life with a dog, cat, horse, parakeet, bearded dragon, or any of the many wonderful animals we call pets, your pet’s well-being depends on you. Proper nutrition, shelter, veterinary care, and affection are critical components of optimal pet ownership.

Best Friends Forever

The downside of the powerful human-animal bond is coping with the death of a beloved pet. Oftentimes, the relationship we have with our pets is so meaningful that their loss creates a wide chasm we aren’t prepared to deal with. Couple this with the fact that many in our society don’t recognize the importance of the human-animal bond and the devastation a pet owner feels at the loss of a pet, and you have a recipe for isolation and even depression.

Fortunately, many outlets exist to help pet owners grapple with their grief. Pet owners can find solace in support groups, both in-person and online. Literature relating to pet loss – available online, in libraries, and through your veterinarian’s office – can offer ideas and advice for healing from such a devastating loss.

Your team at Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates is looking forward to seeing you and your pet and hearing all about the bond you share!