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Did you know that a pet can considerably reduce the amount of stress in your life? Our goals for this paper are twofold: (1) Describe how pet owners and non-pet owners differ. (2) Describe why this difference needs to be accounted for in observational research on pet ownership and health. In this paper, we will examine the factors associated with pet ownership to provide empirical evidence about how dog and cat owners differ from the general population. We also describe how these differences are also associated with health outcomes, which may lead researchers to under- or over-estimate the impact of pet ownership on health in any observational studies that do not use suitable statistical controls. We then provide guidance into how to strengthen the research basis, recommending some recent methodological innovations that help overcome the limitations associated with selection bias.

Potbellied pigs are extremely intelligent and sensitive creatures who can make wonderful companion animals, but they are not the right pet for everyone. They require caregivers who are knowledgeable about their care and behavior, and are committed to providing them with tender loving care and mental stimulation. One very important consideration is whether your community is zoned for potbellied pigs.

The effect of human-animal interaction on health is not fully understood because it is difficult to study. Most evidence on the benefits of having a pet comes from surveys of current health, but that means it is impossible to know if a person is in good health because she has a pet or if he is more likely to get a pet because he is in good health. Someone whose health is poor may decide he does not have the time or energy to care for a pet. The German study described above suggests that having a pet for a … Read more

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