Vidyashree Amaresh

Animals provide a constant source of comfort

Bangalore: Pet therapy is slowly gaining importance in the country. Unlike people, with whom our interactions may be quite complex and unpredictable, animals provide a constant source of comfort and focus for attention.

Naveen Kumar, psychologist, says that petting a dog will help in bringing down blood pressure.

Pet owners need less medical care for stress induced aches and pains than those who do not own pets. Pet therapy does not depend on what kind of animal one likes. It could be a dog, a cat, parakeet, a gold fish or anything else. What matters is that the animal is of interest to you and fits your temperament.

It has to ensure that it suits one's living style, otherwise it will be an additional source of stress.

It is essential to look over the pet and see whether the chemistry is compatible.

According to studies, those prone to cardiac arrests live longer if they have pets. Even watching a tank full of tropical fish may lower blood pressure, at least temporarily.

Animals bring out an individual's nurturing instinct. They also make us feel safe and unconditionally accepted.

"The speechless communication with a pet or simply watching a cat or fish may produce a relaxation response with little demand on the patient," Dr. Naveen says.

Physiological tests have shown that stroking and petting animals can improve general health, lower blood pressure, and reduce anxiety and stress levels.