Pets Impact Human Health


even-year-old Luke Nuttall has type 1 diabetes. His parents were sound asleep when Luke’s diabetic alert dog Jedi woke them up in the middle of the night. The boy’s blood sugar had fallen dangerously low, but Jedi’s vigilance prompted Luke’s parents to take life-saving action.


"Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way."
— John Muir

Not every story is as dramatic as the one of Luke and Jedi reported by CBS News, but there are many ways pets make our lives healthier and happier.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that pets can decrease our blood pressure, cholesterol/triglyceride levels and feelings of loneliness and can increase our opportunities for exercise, outdoor activities and socialization.


WebMD reports that pets can help boost babies’ immune systems against colds and ear infections and can provide social support for autistic children.


"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
— Mohandas Gandhi

Animals are used more and more for therapy in hospitals, in assisted living homes and in hospices. Dr. Ann Berger, a physician and researcher at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, works to relieve pain in patients with life-threatening illnesses. She said, “Our patients are often here for a long period of time. I think the dogs add a bit of normalcy to a very difficult situation. The dog will sit calmly, and the patients don’t have to talk to anyone. They can just pet. I think this helps with some of the suffering.”


April 11 is National Pet Day. Let’s appreciate our animal friends today and every day.