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Companion animals and human health: benefits, challenges, and the road ahead

By M. O'Haire

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Fossil evidence indicates an association between human beings and animals dating back at least half a million years. Today, this relationship remains strong, as evidenced by millions of visits to zoos annually, high rates of pet ownership, and the economic prosperity of the pet industry. A review of the literature indicates that human-animal interactions can remarkably enhance human physical health and psychological well-being. Yet despite reported benefits and public enthusiasm for animal-related activities, human affiliation with animals and nature is rapidly on the decline largely owing to a shift toward industrialized city living. Future research should not only continue to examine the mental and physical health implications of companion animal ownership, but also the ways to most successfully incorporate them into modern lifestyles and communities.

Date 2010
Publication Title Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research
Volume 5
Issue 5
Pages 226-234
ISBN/ISSN 1558-7878
DOI 10.1016/j.jveb.2010.02.002
Language English
Author Address School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  3. Communities
  4. Health
  5. Interactions
  6. Interventions
  7. Literature reviews
  8. Mammals
  9. peer-reviewed
  10. Pets and companion animals
  11. Primates
  12. Reviews
  13. therapeutics
  14. therapy
  15. Zoo and captive wild animals
  16. Zoological gardens
  17. Zoos
  1. peer-reviewed