It is time we recognized pets as a public health strategy


Research on children’s health has shown that growing up with a pet can have a positive effect on their development. Children with pets are more physically active and social, and learn key life skills by caring for pets.

Pets also bring us together and reduce us Loneliness and social isolation. We now know that communities with more pets are more closely connected and connected. Pets help us interact with each other and serve as a common ground that is often lacking in our society.

Unlike other public health strategies, such as dietary guidelines, there are currently no federal efforts to promote animal ownership or support pet owners that matter now 70 percent of US households. The evidence of the positive health benefits pets bring to Americans is strong enough that we should raise the commitment to pets as a wellness strategy to the same level as diet, exercise, smoking cessation, and other public health priorities.

We are making important progress. Through bipartisan passage and funding from the Pet and Women Safety, or PAWS, Act, Department of Justice grants are now helping make domestic violence homes pet-friendly. And with the last passage of the PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act, more veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder will have access to the healing powers of service dogs.

In addition to these focused efforts, congressional and federal agencies can help support pet ownership on a broader basis. For example, Congress may do the Import law for healthy dogsthat would ensure a reliable source of healthy pets and protect public health. Pet-friendly accommodation guidelines can also be updated to expand access and help pet owners find and maintain stable accommodation.


About Clayton Arredondo

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