Purrfect Companions: Benefits of Owning a Pet
Many children grow up dreaming of one day owning a pet. Maybe you grew up just knowing that as soon as you left your parents’ house, you would adopt a dog. Or maybe an exotic pet like a lizard, snake, or rat is more your style.
Although there are plenty of children who dream about pets, once you move out on your own, there are a lot of factors to consider before adopting an animal. While there are many responsibilities that come with being a pet owner, the benefits greatly outweigh any potential negatives. Here are a few reasons why being a pet owner can greatly improve your life.
Having a pet allows you to nurture another living being
Many people joke that if you’re feeling like your life is a little bit empty, get a pet before you even think about having a child. That way, you’ll know if your desire to add to your family is truly a good idea before you bring a baby into the mix.
Pets allow you to nurture another living thing. Some people who haven’t owned pets before make fun of people who treat their pets like family, but truly, you don’t know how much you can love until you bring an animal into your home.
Pets teach you responsibility
Not only are pets there to teach you how to love and nurture, they also help teach you about responsibility. Any pet you own, be it a dog, cat, lizard, or even aquarium fish, need to be fed at specific times each day. Their bedding and litter may need to be changed, and they need regular vet checkups. This requires forethought if you are used to only accounting for your own day-to-day needs.
People who have never shared a schedule with anyone else before often find it difficult at first to adapt to taking care of an animal. It’s normal to feel a bit overwhelmed in the beginning. Once you and your pet get used to each other, the scheduling will come naturally.
Pets, like dogs and cats, keep you fit
Ok, this might apply more to dogs and cats than any other pet, but having an animal in your home will make you more active on a daily basis. Dogs require regular walks, which force you to get out of the house and get fresh air. Most dogs love to explore, run, and dig, so you’ll always have a companion who can’t wait to get outside with you.
Even house cats enjoy regular playtime, which forces you to get active. Doing activities like throwing a toy, or using a laser pointer to exercise your kitty will make you more active every day.
Pets can help you meet new friends
If you’ve never had a pet before, you’d be surprised at how social pet ownership is. Dog parks are the perfect place to meet new people as you’re surrounded by people who share your interest in animals. Plus, you’ve got a built-in conversation starter whenever you need it.
Even if you don’t regularly take your pet out in public (like a dog), it’s amazing how quickly pet owners congregate together. There are tons of forums and websites online dedicated to making connections between pet owners for friendship, and for assistance when needed. Even if you’re unable to bring a pet home, you can still connect with other animal lovers by volunteering at a shelter or pet adoption agency.
Dogs can lower your blood pressure
One study published by a well-known veterinarian recently concluded that people who own dogs generally have lower blood pressure than those who don’t have a pet. Perhaps this is due to the unconditional love your pets give you. Even if you feel stressed at work or you’re struggling in your relationship, you know that you’ll always have a wagging tail to greet you when you walk through the front door.
Many hospitals and clinics even bring therapy animals into their facilities to help calm and relax their patients.
Pets decrease your stress level
When your blood pressure is lowered, then your general stress level tends to go down. Studies on therapy animals have shown that people who are living with chronic medical conditions, like arthritis or migraines, and have pets are generally less anxious and stressed than those who live alone.
One university study showed that people who live with a pet post-surgery needed less pain medication than those who live alone. Having a pet gives you something to focus on other than your own pain and suffering, which in turn makes it much more manageable than if you were simply spending your whole day fixating on how miserable you are.
Growing up with a pet can help strengthen your immune system
What if cuddling an animal every day when you’re young could strengthen your immune system for life? A recent study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology stated that children who grew up with pets had a much lower likelihood of developing allergies than those who did not. Doctors believe this early exposure to animal hair and dander is key to preventing allergies later in life.
So, if you’re the parent of a young child and you’re thinking of getting a pet, do it! It can only benefit your child to grow up alongside a furry friend.
Owning a pet can help ward off depression
Depression is a terrible thing, and one of the worst side effects by far is that it makes you feel as if your existence doesn’t matter. Depression is a serious mental illness and should always be treated if it reoccurs, but one way that people fight against depression without medication is by getting a pet.
Having a pet around gives you a daily sense of purpose because they are completely dependant on you for their food, their exercise, and their health. Even if all you do in a single day is feed and walk your dog, you can feel good that you’re giving your dog exactly what it needs, and when you’re feeling up to it, you can take care of yourself as well.
Owning a pet supports a healthier heart
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, owning a pet correlates to a lower level of cholesterol, which lowers your risk of heart disease. Researchers aren’t sure whether healthier people tend towards pet ownership, or if owning a pet is the factor that lowers your cholesterol, but the research is clear.
If you’re considering bringing an animal into your life, you’re already setting yourself up for a healthier lifestyle.
They can support people with disabilities
Dogs and cats that support people with disabilities are some of the most remarkable living beings on the planet. They live completely selfless lives, and are devoted to the care of their human. These stories warm your heart, and show us just how dedicated and loving an animal can be.
So, bring one into your life today! There are tons of animals out there looking for their forever home. One of them could be the perfect pet for you.