Can a Pet Make You Happy? The Benefits of Pet Ownership

Ever watch those cute kitty videos and get an instant mood lift?  Have you wondered if owning a pet could make you happier?  There really are many benefits of pet ownership. So if you have watched the little puppies on You Tube and wondered if you should get one, read on.

 The benefits of pet ownership puppy

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The Benefits of Pet Ownership

Studies have shown tons of benefits of pet ownership.  People who own pets have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and live longer lives. And that’s just to name a few.  Pets truly do make us physically healthier. Web MD reports 8 different benefits to pet ownership including better health, touch stimulation, higher activity levels, and more social interactions.  That is a lot of benefit for one cute little fur ball.

There are mental health benefits as well. Animals provide unconditional love.  In a world full of hate, snarky comments and tragedy, this fact alone can make anyone happier. One of the best benefits of pet ownership is people who own pets report a much lower incidence of depression than their non-pet owning counterparts.

Other mental health benefits include less anxiety more social interactions. Pets give you a bit of responsibility.  That dog has to go out, that cat has to eat.  Sometimes just having that animal to get you out of bed in the morning can be a blessing.

People who own pets are #happier and #healthier. Time for some #puppy love Click To Tweet

Which Pet is Right for You?

Now that you know the benefits of pet ownership, you are thinking yes I am going to run right out and get… A dog? A cat?  A bird? A pony?  While owning any pet can be a benefit, the most studied are dogs and cats.  Dogs are great at deciphering your body language.  They seem to innately know when you need a cuddle or when it’s time to play.  Cats can be a bit aloof but every time I have a stomach ache, my cat comes over and purrs on my stomach. Amazingly, it does make me feel better. Here is a list of things you should consider before deciding on what pet is right for you.

For All Pets

  • Are you allergic to pet hair or dander?  There are breeds of hairless dogs and cats and poodles are known to be less allergenic than most dogs.
  • Can you keep a pet at your current home?  Very important, I have seen many animals on Craigslist or in the shelter because the owners couldn’t keep them in their housing arrangements
  • What is your work schedule like?  If you work a job that takes you away from home, you are going to need to consider who will take care of the animal while you are gone.  There are plenty of pet sitters out there that can help you out, just be sure to figure this into the cost of pet ownership.
  • Speaking of cost.  You need to figure in the cost of food, veterinary care and supplies to your pet ownership.

If you are sure you are a dog person you are going to need to know a few things about pups in general before you make your choice.

  • What size dog are you interested in?  Can you handle a larger dog, or is a smaller dog more your type?
  • Consider temperament.  Some dogs require more exercise than others, some are known to be easier to train than others.  Grab a book like The Dog Encyclopedia that has dog breeds, characteristics and training ideas all in one manual to help you make your choice.

The same goes for the kitty lovers of the world.  If you are going to get a cat there are a few things to consider.

    • There are more breed options out there than just the domestic short or long hair.  To learn more about the breeds and the care of cats, pick up the Ultimate Encyclopedia on Cats and Cat Care.   This will give you some great information before you have a kitty meowing desperately at you.
    • Are you allergic to kitty litter?  If you have not been around cats much, you may not know the answer to this question.  See if you can find a friend with a kitty or ask at your local shelter.  Some litters are very dusty or perfumed and can cause an allergic reaction.

 

The Downsides to Pet Ownership

You imagine yourself curled up with your new pup or kitty, soft fur caressing your arms while you read a book.  That scenario can and does happen often in my house, but there are some other things that go along with pet ownership you should be aware of before finding your perfect pet.

  • Pets do not always come house trained and accidents happen.  You will have to clean up some less than pleasant things at least once in a while if you own a pet.
  • Pets vomit.  I have one long haired cat that vomits on average 2 x per week.  Ick.
  • The hair.  I have 2 cats and 2 dogs, no matter how much I sweep or vacuum, everything is covered in hair.
  • They require training.  Animals do not come with manners.  They do not come knowing how to sit, fetch, stay off the furniture or walk on a leash.  All of this requires training.

Pets are an additional responsibility that requires time, money and energy, but honestly, it is so worth it.

The Benefits of Pet Ownership For Me

As I said, I currently have two cats and two dogs and could bore you to death with stories of their awesomeness or incredible cuteness.  There have been times in my life when, for one reason or another, I could not own a pet, and I could tell the difference.  I longed for that silent companionship.  I missed the wagging tails when I got home. I had no kitty to curl up on my lap when I had a belly ache. My pets make me laugh, they make me feel loved and they always seem to know when I need my face licked or my belly purred on.

Pet ownership has tons of benefits for both your physical and mental well-being. There are a few drawbacks to pet ownership but if you do your research I think you will find a little fur ball will indeed make your life a little happier.

My Gang

You didn’t think you were getting out of here without at least a few pictures of my critters did you?

Michele Cook with 2 dogs
Me and my dogs Beau (the brown dog) and Amos (the husky/Shepard mix)
Dog playing in snow
Amos having fun in the snow. How can you not smile at that!
Orange kitten
My adorable little kitten Garfield. I should have named her Tigger because she bounces everywhere.
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The Black Panther AKA Midnight. He has ruled the house for 13 years. He keeps all of us, including the dogs, in line.

 

The benefits of pet ownership kitten

 

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