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14 Best Things about Owning a Pet

Monday December 19th 2016

Getting a pet is a long-term commitment, but comes with a whole heap of rewards. Here are just a few reasons to buy or adopt a four-legged friend…

1. Cheering you up when you’re unhappy

Animals have senses that humans lack. As well as a heightened sense of smell and being able to see in the dark, they can also sense when you have had a bad day and will often take the time to try to cheer you up.

2. Encouraging you to exercise

From walking the dog and cleaning out your rabbit’s hutch to searching for your cat when it’s hiding underneath a bush – your animal will give you the best excuse to get out of the house and encourage you to exercise.

3. Reducing stress

There are lots of studies that conclude the playfulness of a puppy, the warmth of a cat sidling up alongside your leg or the feel of a bunny’s fur on your palm can reduce cortisol, the stress hormone, and increase serotonin levels – the happy molecule.

These increased levels of happiness and reduced levels of stress contribute towards how well you deal with stress in your everyday life.

4. Providing companionship

There’s a reason dogs are often dubbed “man’s best friend”, but that extends to other pets as well. Animals that you care for every day provide you with unconditional love and are happy to be in your presence. This friendship is also unconditional and having them around can eliminate feelings of loneliness.

-Pets can lower your blood pressure

Many factors can affect your levels of hypertension, or blood pressure as it’s most commonly known. These include drinking excessively, taking too little exercise or smoking.

However, stress can also be a contributory factor and any way you can reduce the levels of stress you’re exposed to will benefit your levels of hypertension.

Stroking your pet, snuggling or just laughing at your animal’s playfulness will slow your heart rate down and keep your blood pumping at a regular pace.

Writing in the British Journal of Health Psychology, Dr Deborah Wells from Queen's University, Belfast, says dog owners tend to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol but says regular "walkies" may partly explain the difference.

-Teaching you valuable social skills

Experience of interacting with a pet can help you work on your social skills and build your confidence, particularly if you’re usually a little cagey around new people.

There are many studies that demonstrate that having a pet can help children with autism or learning difficulties. Having a furry friend who is non-judgmental and shows them unconditional love is the first step in developing the skills socially-challenged children need to engage and interact with the outside world.

-Lowering your chances of suffering heart disease

Similarly to how pets can lower your blood pressure, the positive impact stroking a pet can have on your stress levels can also keep other illnesses at bay, such as cardiovascular disease or heart disease.

-Providing endless entertainment

A bunny binky, a cat chasing a fly or a pooch chasing its own tail in circles ¬¬– these are all hilarious and heart-warming sources of entertainment and will keep you entertained and smiling.

-Give you something warm to snuggle

Though not all animals love to cuddle, if you have a caring and kind relationship with your dog, cat or rabbit you can be sure that they will hop onto your knee to snuggle. As well as being furry and adorable, they are also snuggly and warm – like a fluffy hot water bottle.

-Children will develop fewer allergies

Most commonly, children who grow up with animals in their home have a lower risk of developing allergies associated to pets. It is also known to stop the progression of certain skin conditions like eczema

-They make excellent security guards

Obviously a barking dog will alert you to a potential intruder, but did you know other animals have been known to act as security guards? Alerting their owners to intruders or warding off other animals.

-They can help you get better – and fast!

Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is form of treatment that uses animals to improve a patient's emotional or cognitive functioning. Fluffy bunnies, cute cats and kind dogs provide comfort to people who have recently had treatment for physical or mental illnesses
Their general adorableness is great for cheering people up and has motivational properties.

5. They can keep you alive

Animals can be used to alert you to medication times but can also be trained to keep people with diseases alive and well. Some dogs are trained to support people with Alzheimer’s or certain mental illnesses and can prevent them from venturing into unsafe situations. There are also cats that can alert an owner if they are about to have an epileptic fit.

6. They keep you organised

Have you ever tried to sleep in at the weekend, only to have your kitty tap you on the forehead at the time you’re usually going to work? Having an animal is a big commitment, but with it comes a schedule of tasks – like feeding, cleaning and exercising. All these elements will encourage you to stick to a routine, and, in turn, equip you with the tools to become more organised in the other areas of your life.