5 Reasons Getting A Pet Could Be The Best Thing You Do For Yourself
Start writing a post

5 Reasons Getting A Pet Could Be The Best Thing You Do For Yourself

How do dogs, cats, and every pet in-between benefit mental health and life?

5 Reasons Getting A Pet Could Be The Best Thing You Do For Yourself

For pet owners, coming home to be greeted by their pet waiting at the door is sometimes the best part of their day. But there are many other physical and mental benefits that grow from this human-animal bond as well.

Though I often find myself struggling to keep up with my red poodle on walks or dealing with her excited tendency of jumping, cuddling with her after a long day seems to be worth it. My rabbit, on the other hand, seems to enjoy much of her time alone, being grateful for my company in general. From having a companion who will always be there to having a friend to play with, pets of any kind or size benefit every aspect of a person's health.

So, here's five ways pets benefit our lives.

1. They impact our health.

A Shiba Inu being held by it's owners.

Kido.Shiba / Instagram

A pet doesn't have to be a dog or cat for someone to experience great health benefits from them; even watching fish can help reduce muscle tension and lower pulse rate. Studies have shown that pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.

Another study found that when people with borderline hypertension adopted dogs from a shelter, their blood pressure dramatically decreased within five months. Elevated levels of serotonin and dopamine come with playing with a dog or cat as well. Pet owners over the age of 65 make 30 percent fewer visits to their doctors compared to people without pets.

One of the major therapeutic effects of having a pet is that they fulfill the basic human need for touch. Even criminals who have spent time in prison show long-term change in their behavior as they interact with pets as they experience mutual affection for the first time. This companionship is not only beneficial for the aspect of touch but loneliness as well, giving people a counterpart.

2. They can improve our lifestyle.

Youtuber Adriene Louise doing a yoga pose with her dog, Benji, lying on the yoga mat below her.

Adriene Louise / Instagram

Though having a pet can be stressful at times, especially if they're not listening to your attempts at training or made an accident on your living room carpet, having a pet can truly improve your lifestyle and ease symptoms of mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Increasing exercise is a central part of having a dog considering their need for going on walks to stay fit and healthy. Adriene Louise is a YouTuber whose channel focuses on yoga and other types of exercise, and her dog often makes an appearance, sometimes following along with the moves.

Pets also provide companionship, which can add years to your life and prevent illness. Pets can be a great social connection by helping you meet new people and maintain new friendships. Dog owners often talk to each other in pet stores and dog parks, as well as passing each other on the street while taking their pets on walks.

Also, many pets, from fish to rodents to dogs, require a regular feeding and exercise schedule. Caring for a live animal in this way can make you feel needed and wanted as you are a major part of their life.

3. Pets have been helpful to their owners in quarantine.

an owner holding a kitten with its paws in the owner's hand

Luku Muffin / Unsplash

A study by Researchers at the University of York and the University of Lincoln surveyed pet owners from March 23 through June 1, 2020, concluding that more than 90 percent of the 6,000 respondents said their pet helped them cope emotionally with the lockdown and 96 percent said their pet helped keep them fit and active.

The most common pets people owned in the study were cats and dogs, followed by small mammals and fish, but the type of pet did not impact the degree of mental health benefits. If you're living by yourself during the pandemic and have the resources to care for a pet, perhaps owning a pet will benefit not only your mental health but your lifestyle as well!

4. Any type of pet can have health benefits for their owners.

Amanda smiling at the camera with her foster pet, a snake, wrapped around her neck.

Amanda Birkeland / Instagram

The health benefits of pets are not just limited to cats and dogs, but less common options as well. Studies show that lizards and snakes are able to grow attached to their owners, recognizing those who care for them. These reptilian companions often appeal to those who have an allergy to furry pets.

Birds usually have long lifespans which means you can enjoy the love of owning a pet without having to deal with the grief that comes with losing a companion. Birds also enjoy social interaction, and by talking and teaching tricks to them, your bird can encourage healthy cognitive function as they display their own.

Fish are beneficial to health as well as they have been scientifically proven to reduce stress and calm your heart rate. This is the reason many doctors' or dentists' offices (See: Finding Nemo) have fish tanks in waiting rooms.

5. Pets can be great companions for older adults or young children.

A baby cuddling with their pet pug.

Michelle Thygesen / Instagram

Are you caring for a child or older relative at home? There are many benefits of having a pet for both age ranges! Having a pet allows older adults to stay connected, provides a source of positive, nonverbal communication, and eases stress caused by Alzheimer's and dementia.

Not only do pets give children less risk of allergies and asthma, but they also encourage responsibility and empathy. Pets like birds also provide a source of stimulation for a child's brain and body by enabling their confidence and even their vocabulary.

Children with autism or other learning disorders are often better at interacting with pets than people. Pets can help children with learning disabilities regulate stress and overcome challenges brought by their disorder.

If this post inspired you to get a pet, try looking for adoptable pets near you on sites like PetFinder.Com or AdoptaPet.Com!

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Olivia White

"The American flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies from the last breath of each solider who died protecting it."

Keep Reading... Show less

Separation Anxiety in Pets

Separation anxiety in pets is a real thing and recognizing the warning signs is important.


Since March, Covid-19 required most of the world to quarantine in their homes. Majority of people ended up working from home for nearly five months. This meant pet owners were constantly with their pets giving them attention, playing with them, letting them out etc. Therefore, when the world slowly started to open up again and pet owners began returning to normal life work schedules away from the home, pet owners noticed a difference in the way their pet acted. Many pets develop separation anxiety especially during this crazy time when majority people were stuck inside barely leaving the house.

Keep Reading... Show less
Robert Bye on Unsplash

I live by New York City and I am so excited for all of the summer adventures.

Keep Reading... Show less

The invention of photography

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.


The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers


Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments