Pet power – How pet ownership enhances lives

Pet power – How pet ownership enhances lives

Pet ownership rates in Australia are among the highest in the world with an estimated 29 million pets, exceeding the nation’s human population by around four million, according to a recent survey.

An astounding figure but one that illustrates just how important pets have become to people and families around the nation.

Such statistics are not surprising because pets bring with them so much affection, joy, loyalty, and love, and make the ideal companion for people of all ages.

Pets are often their owners’ best friends, providing comfort and a sense of security.

Research suggests pets can also have a positive effect on its human’s health including physical fitness, cardiovascular health, psychological health, child development, and immune system development. They can also be a calming influence that help lower blood pressure, promote socialising, and are excellent at encouraging exercise.

This is especially true for people who have dogs that require daily walks.

Research also shows that about 40 per cent of households in Australia have at least one dog, putting them at the top of the pet ownership ladder ahead of cats at 27 per cent, fish at 11 per cent and birds at nine per cent. That’s more than five million canines, 3.8 million cats and 5.6 million birds!

Popular dog breeds include Chihuahuas, Border Collies, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers.

Many owners of cats and dogs refer to their pets affectionately as `fur babies’, an endearing term that reflects the fact that their pets are regarded as not just companions but family.

The important role pets play in the lives of their owners is embraced by GemLife over-50s resorts.

Gemlife Director & CEO Adrian Puljich said pets formed an important part of many people’s lives with an estimated three in every five Australian households owning a pet of some kind.

“We not only welcome pets of all shapes and sizes at our resorts but also provide facilities such as dog parks, where residents’ dogs can run free within a safe, fenced environment. In addition, it is a wonderful place for pet owners to get together and socialise,” he said.

“GemLife resorts enjoy a good level of pet ownership throughout, ranging from between 38 per cent to 69 per cent of homes with pets such as dogs, cats and birds.”

While pets provide valuable companionship, love and affection, especially as people move into their 50s and beyond, there are many additional benefits.

Benefits of pet ownership:

  • Pets enhance social skills and connectedness and are great conversation starters!
  • Pet owners report less depression and appear to cope with stress, loss and grief better than non-pet owners.
  • Studies show that having a pet often leads to increased cardiovascular health (lower triglycerides, lower blood pressure and, in men, lower cholesterol).
  • Dogs, can encourage their owners to get out and enjoy the outdoors while getting some regular exercise. They are great personal trainers and motivators, never wanting to miss out on walks and other outdoor activities no matter the weather.
  • Pets also make great caregivers and are always there to provide company when we are feeling down or sick.
  • They keep an eye on the home while their owners are out and can also make humans feel safe when home alone.

Dog parks near GemLife resorts

GemLife Bribie Island:
Bellara Dog Park; Cosmos ParkGemLife Pacific Paradise:
Off-lead dog park at 361 Bradman Avenue,
Maroochydore; Off-lead dog park at 16/18 Keith
Royal Drive, Marcoola.GemLife Maroochy Quays:
Off-lead dog park at 361 Bradman Avenue,
Maroochydore; Buderim Dog Park.GemLife Gold Coast:
Damian Leeding Memorial Dog Park at Oxenford;
Coomera Springs Park.GemLife Tweed Waters:
Ducat Park; Arkinstall Park; Harold Pearce Park.
GemLife Highfields:
Harris Park at Sunray Drive, Highfields.GemLife Palmwoods:
Buderim Dog Park; Sippy Downs Dog Park;
Brightwater Dog Park.GemLife Rainbow Beach:
Lake Cathie Foreshore Reserve; Stuart Park,
Wood Street, Port Macquarie.GemLife Woodend:
Campaspe Park Recreation Reserve, Woodend;
Forest Glade Gardens, Mount Macedon; Bolobek
Park, Mount Macedon.