What is the percentage of U.S. households that have at least one dog? How does this percentage compare with 10, 20 years ago?
Today, 63 percent of all U.S. households own a pet which equates to more than 69 million households. That’s up from 64 million in 2002 and 51 million in 1988 according to The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA).
Broken down even further, that number equates to 73 million dogs.
So what is the reason for this upsurge? Quite simply, many realize that pets enhance our lives; they provide companionship, affection and real health benefits. For over 25 years, studies have proved over and over that pets are good for us.
• Dogs have extraordinary senses of smell and research has pointed to them sniffing out everything from cancerous growths to food allergens.
• Dogs are quite perceptive and can often detect an owner’s seizure or low blood sugar before the owner does.
• Dogs improve your moods. Ever try to stay in a bad mood when a puppy or adult dog looks at you with those big, warm eyes? It can’t be done!
• Dogs encourage you to exercise. We walk with our dogs because they need it!
• Dogs provide social support, stave off loneliness. While walking dogs, we often stop to talk to other dog owners, in turn, increasing our networks of acquaintances.
• Dogs are stress busters—and they never judge us!
Recently, the American Journal of Cardiology conducted a survey and found that pet ownership (dog OR cat), is linked to the heart’s capability to adapt to any number of circumstances that can affect the body, such as a faster heartbeat during a stressful moment.
The research included 191 people with a chronic condition like diabetes or high cholesterol, with a mean age of 69, whose heart rates were analyzed for a full day and night. The participants were also broken up into groups depending on their pet-ownership status.
The research showed that people who owned pets had heart rates that changed more than people who didn’t own pets — meaning the heart rates were more adaptable.