Keeping a four-legged, furry pet is practically the best safeguard against depression, anxiety or blood pressure, according to an American scientist.
"Research in this field is providing new evidence on the positive impact pets have in our lives," said Rebecca Johnson, associate professor at the University of Missouri.
"Pets are of great importance to people, especially during hard economic times," Johnson added. "Pets provide unconditional love and acceptance and may be part of answers to societal problems, such as inactivity and obesity."
"The few studies that have been conducted suggest that pet ownership may have multiple health and emotional benefits for both children and adults," said James Griffin, scientist at National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
"But there has been relatively little rigorous research documenting these benefits and examining how and why they occur," he added.
Accordingly, the U-M College of Veterinary Medicine Research Centre for Human-Animal Interaction (ReCHAI) is organising a Human-Animal Interaction Conference in Kansas city between October 20 and 25, to show how pets impact the lives of children, families and older adults.