Why do humans need pets?

need pets

You will surely find that there are more and more pet owners nowadays.

In communities and parks, there are many people who walk their dogs with ropes. Some are 60 or 70-year-olds who walk slowly behind the Mao children; some are teenagers, jumping and running with their dogs—it can be said to be a beautiful landscape.

People who don’t own pets may say: “Pets need to spend a lot of time, energy and money.” As everyone knows, in the process of getting along with pets, it seems that pets need our care. In fact, more often than not, it is us. Need pets.

So why do we need pets?

need pets
Pets provide us with “contact comfort”

Ten thousand years ago, when people first kept pets, they even chose foxes as pets, but because foxes were too smart and not loyal, they switched to dogs.

We can see that, whether it is a dog, a fox, or a cat or a rabbit, most of the animals that people like are hugged and fluffy. This is because pets can provide us with “contact comfort.”

So what is “contact comfort”? Let’s start from the beginning.

After the Second World War, European orphanages accepted many babies whose parents had died. Despite the good conditions in the orphanage, many babies still died.

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At first, people thought it might be due to poor sanitation, so when taking care of the children, the nuns were asked to wear veils and were not allowed to hug and kiss them, and curtains were drawn between the cribs. However, the situation is even worse.

But almost every baby taken care of by a nun survived. When people asked her, she said, I’m sorry, I broke the rules, they are so cute, I can’t help but hug and touch them.

At the same time, psychologist Harlow did the famous Harlow experiment.

need pets
▲ The famous Harlow experiment shows that the little monkey prefers the flannel monkey mother

He separated the newly born rhesus monkey from its mother, and made two different monkey mothers out of iron wire and flannel respectively, and found that:

Even though the feeding bottle is placed on the wire monkey mother, the little monkeys still choose to snuggle on the flannel monkey mother for the first time after drinking the milk. The experiment also found that the little monkeys who were stripped of their mother’s love since childhood lacked group behaviors, were not gregarious, were aggressive, were afraid to explore the environment, and could not adapt to future life.

Psychologist Harlow pointed out that contact comfort is very important for infants and monkeys. Although the subject of this experiment is monkeys, many psychologists believe that it is equally applicable to human babies.

Humans like small furry animals and hug and pet their furry older children. Perhaps as Harlow said: furry children meet our need for contact comfort. Holding them will make us warm and safe. feel.

need pets
Pets always make you feel relaxed and happy

Many people would describe the time spent with pets like this: “Whenever I come home from work a day and stretch out my arms to hug the running dog, I feel the stress and exhaustion disappear.”

A friend next to me also said: “Whenever I am very tired from overtime, I look back and look at the cat not far away for a while. I feel happy inexplicably, as if I have the energy to continue working again.”

This happy and relaxed feeling after looking at pets or touching the body is not created out of thin air, it is actually related to something called “oxytocin”.

▲ Every moment you get along with the dog will make you feel healed and happy

Oxytocin is a mammalian hormone, a peptide hormone, secreted by the posterior pituitary gland and synthesized by the paraventricular nucleus and supraoptic nucleus of the hypothalamus.

Its physiological role is:

Stimulate breast milk secretion, promote the contraction of uterine smooth muscle during childbirth, and promote the role of maternal love. In addition, it can also reduce the level of stress hormones such as adrenaline in the human body to lower blood pressure.

Oxytocin is also present in men. Studies have found that when fathers play with their children, oxytocin levels increase. The higher the level of oxytocin in the body, the more time the father will spend with his children and show more love.

In addition to the well-known functions mentioned above, oxytocin can also reduce the level of adrenaline and other stress hormones in the human body to lower blood pressure or regulate the body in the face of stress.

Therefore, the oxytocin secreted by interaction with pets can make the owner feel relaxed and happy emotions, reduce stress, and create a sense of belonging.

Researchers at Azabu University in Japan proved this with experiments:

They let 30 groups of dogs play with their owners in the room. During this period, the dogs and their owners will have eye and body contact. After 30 minutes, the researchers collected urine from the dogs and their owners for inspection. The concentration of oxytocin. It was found that the oxytocin concentration of dogs and their owners increased, especially the owner, their oxytocin concentration increased by 3 times.

This theory has gradually been accepted by the medical community.

According to the British “Times” report, it may appear on the doctor’s prescription in the future-“Having a puppy will be of great help in treating your depression.”

In his recent book, Dr. David Sleg said that compared with injections and medicine, keeping pets and showing love is undoubtedly a better way to treat mental illness than injections and medicine.

It’s just that there is no such setting in the current medical system.

Pets can inspire the most primitive emotions in your heart

Many owners will call their pets “sons” or “daughters” in their lives, or call themselves “dad”, “mother”, “grandpa” or “grandma” in front of their pets.

In other words, in getting along with pets, many owners have actually regarded pets as their children and family members.

The reason is that pets awaken the most primitive emotion in our hearts-the connection between parent and child.

▲ You will be very keen to interact closely with your pet

Zoologists believe that:

Animals and human babies have many similar appearance features, such as the eyes occupying a larger proportion of the face and the head occupying a larger proportion of the limbs. These characteristics can inspire a very primitive emotion deep in the human heart and make people want to protect them. , Taking care of them is the instinct of human nurturing, and it is also a need of biological survival and evolution.

When people see cats, dogs and other pets, just like seeing babies, the brain will secrete dopamine that makes people feel good, making people’s attitudes friendly and gentle.

When interacting with the environment, babies will regard their mothers as a “safe base”, and will return to their mothers for comfort if they fall or are frustrated; after receiving comfort, they will go out to explore again.

Scientists at the Vienna University of Veterinary Medicine have discovered that the owner also serves as a “safe base” for dogs. The relationship between pets and their owners is very similar to the relationship between humans.

The researchers did a set of experiments with pet dogs:

Under the three conditions of “master’s absence,” “master’s presence, silence”, “master’s presence, rewards”, let the dog play with toys to win food rewards to observe the dog’s motivation and emotions.

The results of the study found that when the owner is absent, the dog’s motivation to play and win rewards is much lower. And if the owner is present, even if they remain silent, the dog’s motivation to play and win rewards will be much higher.

And this result is similar to the relationship between human babies and mothers.

When the mother is present, the baby will feel at ease even if she does not speak. When the mother is not present, the baby may become restless, crying, and silent.

This kind of parent-child connection between pets and humans makes people feel as if they have raised a child, so that they are all tied and remembered.

Pet companionship also helps maintain physical and mental health

Now, more and more researches are beginning to pay attention to the effect of pets on people’s physical and mental health.

Researchers at the University of Chicago found that communication and interaction with pets can reduce our loneliness, make us more social, and improve our mental health.

A survey in Australia shows that compared with people who do not have pets, pet owners are significantly less likely to suffer from diseases such as high blood pressure and hyperlipidemia.

Professor Karen Allan of the State University of New York tested 48 stockbrokers who live alone and are generally suffering from high blood pressure.


Alan arranged pets for half of them, and the other half took medication to lower their blood pressure.

After 6 months, everyone underwent a stress test. People with pets still maintained normal blood pressure in the face of stress, while people without pets had a significant increase in blood pressure. After learning the test results, almost everyone who participated in the test decided to keep a pet.

Alan’s advice to these people is, don’t just keep pets, treatment will be more effective only if you give love to your pets.

Stroke patients are ashamed to speak because of impaired speech ability, but if they are chatting with a dog, there is no such problem.


▲ Facing a cute pet, you can often confide all your troubles with him

Psychologist Paul Kiribe said:

“If a mentally ill patient can take the dog out for a walk like other people, or even play with the dog, then he has already begun to walk on the track of a normal person.”

After years of research on the relationship between human health and pets, the famous British psychologist Dr. Joan Nicholas believes that pets can give people a complete and thorough sense of trust.

She said: “It is a close relationship, not beauty or wealth that makes people feel real happiness.”

Nicholas’ research also found:

If people are suffering from the bereavement of relatives and friends, pets can play a very good relief, and communication with other pet owners can help relieve grief.

In the past 21 years, the British Pet Therapy Association has been committed to providing pet treatment to hospitals, shelters, nursing homes, mental hospitals and other institutions. Every week, more than 100,000 people come into contact with pets in this project.

Maureen Haynes, director of the Pet Association, said:

“Generally speaking, patients have a sense of loneliness and do not like to speak, and contact with pets makes it easier for them to open their hearts.”

For example, people with depression generally feel lonely, but if there is a dog next to them, the situation will be much better, because pets can provide a good start for communication.

Of course, we need pets for more than these reasons.

Some people also summarized some of the reasons why we need pets-no longer lonely and lonely; get rid of powerlessness; relieve tension and pressure; maintain a happy and cheerful mood; protect yourself from social harm; respect and understand the importance of life; increase the relationship with friends Talk about information; get to know more neighbors; simulate parent-child relationships; feel loved and cared for; go out often; exercise regularly; routines of life; effective weight loss; trust and love without scruples.

So why do you need pets?

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