Five benefits of owning a pet

Father and son walking dog in countryside

For some people, the idea of welcoming a dog or cat into their home seems like an influx of responsibility and obligation they would rather avoid. But for devoted pet owners, their furry friends are beloved members of the family with whom they share a mutually beneficial relationship.

Whichever camp you fall into, it can’t hurt to brush up on the many benefits of owning a pet. If you’re reluctant to take the plunge, these facts may convince you. And if you’re a longtime pet parent, they’ll serve as a welcome reminder as to how your little fur ball has improved your life.

From the emotional and social impact of their presence to the physical and mental benefits, having Fido the dog or Garfield the cat around the house might just be the boost you didn’t even know you needed.

Fitness

Pets need regular activity and, if a dog becomes your pet of choice, you’ll also be signing up for brisk daily walks to help your furry friend keep in shape. In turn, you’ll also feel the benefit of regular, low-impact exercise. According to a recent survey, 36 per cent of pet owners said that having a pet has helped them lose weight. Who needs a personal trainer?

Social

Believe it or not, having an animal can even have an impact on your social life… in a good way. Walking the dog around the local park or taking it to obedience lessons are just two settings where you’ll have the opportunity to meet new faces and interact with people you might not otherwise have come into contact with. And don’t be surprised if you’re stopped by strangers in the street who are eager to pat your furry friend and find out more about her.

Childhood learning and responsibility

Having a pet in the home is a great way for children to learn valuable life lessons in a fun, rewarding way. From the daily responsibility of feeding, exercising and caring for the animal to understanding more about illness and loss, it can equip your children (or grandchildren) with the emotions to cope better with important life events as they grow up.

Companionship

The sheer presence of a pet in the home can boost your mood, especially after a hectic day at the office or even following a difficult conversation. The stresses of life can melt away as soon as you walk through the front door and see your beloved pet, desperate for your affection. Said animal will also be your go-to companion of choice to watch a movie with or cuddle up to read a book with on a cold winter’s day. What’s better than a furry hot water bottle who listens to every word you say and doesn’t answer back?

Mental health

Not only do pets provide companionship and help improve your physical health, they can also provide therapeutic and emotional benefits. According to Ingrid Collins, a consultant psychologist at the London Medical Centre, “A pet is better than Prozac. Animals have a completely different agenda to humans, and bring things back to basics. They want comfort, feeding and love. In return, they give huge affection.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/good-news/seven-seas/benefits-of-owning-a-pet/

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