Pets aren’t just a source of companionship, they can also boost your mental and physical health. They help improve your mood and reduce stress, so it’s no wonder that 68% of households in the United States have pets.
Dogs, cats, birds, reptiles and other animals are the most common types of pets. But there are many other species that can also bring a lot of joy to your life, whether you’re looking for a small furry friend or something much bigger.
Having an animal in your home can be a great way to add structure and routine to your day, making it easier to keep calm when you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Even something as simple as a regular walk or feeding schedule can make a big difference in how you feel.
A good way to get started is by going on a field trip to your local pet store and looking at the different kinds of pets that are available. Ask an adult friend or family member to take you on this adventure and discuss the pros and cons of each type of animal with you.
Finding the right pet can be a difficult decision, but if you’re serious about owning one, it could make an important difference in your life. A study of 148 college women found that those who owned pets had lower loneliness scores on the UCLA Loneliness Scale.
The unconditional love of a pet can help you deal with depression and anxiety, as well as make you feel less lonely and more connected to the world. Studies show that spending time with a dog or cat triggers an increase in the “love hormone” called oxytocin, which increases your sense of belonging and helps you feel happier.
Being able to share your feelings with a pet is an excellent way to talk through your problems and make things better. Children who have pets are more likely to be able to communicate with their parents, and they’re more likely to express how they’re feeling.
Getting a pet is also a great way to teach kids empathy and responsibility, which are essential life skills. Teaching kids to take care of a pet can lead to them understanding how to care for other people, and this can help them develop positive relationships in their later lives.
They’re not only a source of companionship and happiness, pets are also a great way to learn more about the natural world. Taking your pet on walks, or to the park for an impromptu picnic can be fun and educational, as long as you’re careful to keep them safe and healthy.
Another benefit of owning a pet is the bond you build with them over time. This can help you form a strong and meaningful relationship that lasts a lifetime, which is an important skill to have in life.
NIH is investing in research to discover how the human-animal bond translates to health benefits for a variety of people. Those benefits could include reducing stress, improving heart health, and helping kids learn to cope with illness or trauma.