What Is a Pet?


A pet is an animal that lives in close relationship with one or more human beings. The human beings take responsibility for the animal’s well-being and intervene routinely in the animal’s life course.

People often get pets for the company and companionship they provide. In addition, research has shown that pets can help with depression and anxiety. They can also lower blood pressure. Pets are important for children’s social skills, and have even been shown to help autistic kids build confidence.

Traditionally, many pets have been used for herding and guarding livestock. Dogs have been particularly popular for these purposes, and their role has been unabashedly sentimentalized in art and literature. The affection of Alexander the Great for his favourite horse, Bucephalus, and the popularity of such canine motion-picture stars as Lassie and Rin Tin Tin are further evidence of the close bond between man and beast.

Some small mammals, such as the rabbit, guinea pig, ferret, sugar glider, and hedgehog are kept as pets, along with domesticated mice, rats, hamsters, gerbils, chinchillas, and other rodents. Other animals, such as frogs, salamanders, and toads, are sometimes kept as pets, as are reptiles, such as snakes, lizards, and iguanas. Fish, such as goldfish and koi, are also frequently kept as pets. Birds, such as cockatiels and parrots, are also common pets. And a variety of insects, such as walking stick insects and ant farms, are also frequently kept as pets.

Having a pet requires a commitment of time, money, and energy. Before getting a pet, it is important to be sure that the person wants to keep it long-term and that they are able to give it the proper care. If someone is unsure, they should consider fostering or helping a friend with their pet to see if this is something they are able to do.

It is important to remember that, regardless of the type of pet, all animals require a good quality diet. For example, the animal’s food should be high in protein and fibre for its muscle growth, as well as vitamins A, D, E, and K, which promote healthy bones and teeth. It is also important to watch out for excessive fat and sodium, as these can be harmful.

Another factor to consider is that many people, especially the elderly and disabled, trip over pets on a regular basis. In fact, more than 86,000 falls serious enough to land a person in the hospital occur each year in the United States because of this problem. In order to reduce this risk, owners should keep their pets away from stairs and other potential hazards. They should also make sure that they have the appropriate safety equipment for their household.