The Benefits of Owning a Pet


A pet, also called a companion animal or domestic animal, is any animal kept primarily for affection, pleasure, or as a source of entertainment, as opposed to being a working animal, livestock, or laboratory animal. People have kept pets since ancient times, and the pet/owner relationship has long been unabashedly sentimentalized in art, music, and literature. The love between Alexander the Great and his horse Bucephalus is well known, and in more modern times, canine motion picture stars such as Rin Tin Tin and Lassie are renowned for their unconditional loyalty.

The most common reason for owning a pet is to provide companionship. Pets offer unconditional love and a feeling of safety, as they do not judge or criticize their owners. Children especially benefit from a sense of security and self-worth that they get from the love of their pet. Pets can also help fill in the gap when parents are busy or when kids are away from home, and can give them a sense of responsibility and belonging to their family.

Pets can help people deal with stress, and the simple act of stroking a dog or cat or playing with a fish can lower your blood pressure and increase your levels of serotonin and dopamine, boosting your mood. Pets can also be a great way to start conversations and to make friends. In a recent survey by Purina, 54 percent of surveyed pet owners said their pets helped them meet new people.

When selecting a pet, it is important to consider the amount of time you can spend with your pet each day. It is also a good idea to ensure that other members of your household are on board with the commitment and that there is enough space at home for the type of animal you are considering. It is also important to consider how much the pet will cost to maintain, as some animals can be quite expensive.

Some pets, such as dogs, cats, birds, and fish, are easy to care for and can be a wonderful addition to the family, but other species, such as reptiles and saltwater aquariums, require specialized knowledge that not everyone has. Additionally, exotic and wild animals can be incredibly difficult to care for. These animals are often violently abducted from their natural habitats and subjected to long, exhausting journeys before ending up in pet stores or online, where they may be sold for profit or as a status symbol.

The ASPCA estimates that approximately 5 million animals, including pets, are euthanized every year. Many of these animals are unwanted and could have been adopted from a shelter. Before purchasing a pet, it is important to find out if your lifestyle can accommodate a new addition and to adopt or rescue an animal from a local animal shelter. This will ensure that a pet is a positive addition to the family and not a burden. It will also help to reduce the demand for animals who are bred for the pet trade and suffer unrelentingly while waiting for a permanent home.