Pets are a big commitment that should be made for the right reasons. If you’re thinking about adopting a pet, consider the benefits it can provide to your family:
Pet owners have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels than non-pet owners. Research also shows that pet ownership helps with anxiety, depression, stress, loneliness and social isolation. Pets are an amazing source of joy and unconditional love for people, especially children. They teach them the importance of responsibility and nurture, as well as enhancing their sense of self-worth and lowering their blood pressure. They are a great way to get kids outside and into nature, boosting exercise levels and providing a sense of companionship that many adults crave.
If you had pets growing up, you may want to give your children that same experience, or perhaps you’re trying to make up for not having them as a kid. Pets are great for teaching kids about emotional relationships and responsibility, and can help improve their social skills, patience, and empathy. Pets also introduce a new world of sensory experiences, including touch and sight, that many kids are not exposed to on a daily basis.
Pets can be great companions for adults as well, reducing stress and anxiety, decreasing the feeling of loneliness and helping to ease depression. They can also help encourage physical activity by requiring regular walks and playtime, which has been shown to increase overall health and well-being. Pets, particularly dogs, can even help with mental health conditions like schizophrenia and dementia. Studies have found that people with pets have a lower risk of depression, and are more likely to be active than those without pets.
Studies have shown that stroking a dog or cat increases the hormones oxytocin and endorphins, which helps reduce the stress-inducing hormone cortisol. This is probably due to the fact that animals are non-threatening and have a natural calming effect on humans.
The bond between people and their pets can even be used to help combat feelings of loneliness and depression in older adults, especially those who are living alone. In fact, Promises Treatment Centers, a facility specializing in addiction, recommends getting a pet to alleviate these feelings of sadness and despair.
Whether you’re an old soul or someone looking for that special person to share your life with, having a pet is a great way to meet people and get out in the community. In fact, according to a recent study by Purina, nearly two thirds of pet owners said their furry friends helped them start conversations and increase their chances of finding love.
When choosing a pet for your home, it’s important to choose an animal that you can take care of and will be happy with. It’s also important to talk with your children about the responsibilities involved in caring for a pet, so they understand it’s not something to be taken lightly. Lastly, remember that some pets live for decades, so be sure you have a backup plan if your child’s interest in the pet wanes over time.