General Health

There is a wide range of research that points to the positive impact pets have on our general health. Not all of it, however, is able to prove cause and effect. Longitudinal research, which examines the health of an individual before and after pet acquisition, seems to establish the case more clearly. For example, it can be argued that people who are healthy are more likely to own a pet, rather than particular health benefits being the result of pet ownership.





  1. Serpell, JA, 1991,’Benefi cial effects of pet ownership on some aspects of human health’, Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, vol.84, pp. 717-720.
  1. Olbrich, E, 1995, ‘Budgerigars in Old People's Homes: influence on behaviour and quality of life’, Conference proceedings at Animals, Health and Quality of Life, 7th International Conference on Human-Animal Interactions, Geneva, September, 1995.
  1. Siegel, JM, 1990, ‘Stressful life events and the use of physical services among the elderly: the modifying role of pet ownership’, The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 58, pp. 1081-1086.
  1. Jorm, AF, Jacomb, PA, Christensen, H, Henderson, S, Korten, AE, & Rodgers, B, 1997, ‘Impact of pet ownership on elderly  Australians’ use of medical services: an analysis using Medicare data’, The Medical Journal of Australia, vol. 6, no. 7, pp. 376-377.
  1. Headey, B, Na, F, Grabka, M, & Zheung, R, ‘Pets and human health in Australia, China and Germany: Evidence from three continents’, 2004, International Association of Human Animal Interaction Organisations Conference, Glasgow.




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