Reasons why getting a pet can lead to a happier life
20th December 2022
The reasons to get a pet are numerous, as they are known for increasing happiness and providing many wonderful health benefits to the owners. While dogs and cats are two of the most popular types of pets to own, there are many animals that bring so much joy to their owners. If you are wondering if a pet is right for you or if it would be a good idea to acquire one, this guide highlights the benefits of having a pet and how they can contribute to your happiness.
What are good reasons to get a pet?
Pets can keep you active
How does having a pet benefit you? One of the best ways a pet can lead to a happier life is that they are excellent for keeping people active. This can be particularly attractive for those who don’t get much exercise, perhaps due to limited mobility. For example, dogs need regular walks, so by having a dog as a pet, you will find yourself getting out and about much more often, looking after your pet and improving your fitness in the process. Keeping active, even just walking your dog a couple of times a day, can help with fitness and lead to a happier life.
Those who are less able on their feet, such as people with stairlifts at home, should be careful about the type of walks that are taken with a dog - choose flat and level surfaces and be careful not to overdo it. Finding the right pet for you will be key but even cats and other pets can help improve activity, as you will be on your feet feeding them, going to buy pet food, and cleaning beds.
The animal behaviour pet blog Ruffle Snuffle shares that all pets will encourage you to exercise and that: “You may often struggle to fit regular exercise into your day, but having a pet ensures you do. At times, you’ll be getting in exercise without even realising.”
Pets provide companionship
One of the many benefits of owning a pet is the companionship that it can provide. All pets can bring joy and love into a home, becoming beloved members of the family, or a friend to those who are alone. Pets like dogs and cats can lovingly greet you when you come home, and dogs in particular are known for their selfless giving, loving nothing more than to spend time with their owners, sitting at their feet, or keeping them company while they watch TV.
Pet insurance company Animal Friends explains that: “Owning a cat or dog provides companionship to those who would otherwise be alone. Loneliness can affect anyone, from the elderly, single parents, young people, to those with disabilities and while research found that there is no difference in loneliness between pet owners and non-owners, the companionship pets offer is priceless.”
If you are feeling alone or like the idea of having another presence in the house, perhaps getting a pet is the right choice for you. If you are ready for the responsibility, having a pet could bring a lot of love into your home.
Pets can help you feel safe
Many people can sadly feel unsafe in their homes, particularly if they live alone. The feeling of security that a dog can bring to a home is one of the great benefits of having a pet. Dogs are territorial and will often bark at strange noises, alerting the owner to unwanted visitors. With a dog in the home, you are more likely to know if someone is approaching the house and most criminals will be put off from attempting a burglary if they know there is a dog at home. Dogs are also protective of their owners which can also help people to feel safer and lead to a happier existence.
Pets can be therapeutic
Stress can be a major factor in preventing happiness, but the good news is that pets can be very therapeutic. Pet therapy is rather common, and the benefits of stroking a dog or a cat, for example, can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression, as the action produces chemical reactions in our body which lead to feelings of happiness.
Pet expert Kristen Levine shares this insight into the power that pets have to produce good feelings and healing in their owners: “Pets create a chain-reaction of happiness in their owners. If you’re feeling stressed or unhappy, pet a dog or cat (or a gerbil or a ferret). The simple act of petting an animal, leads to key neurotransmitters firing in our heads, which leads to us feeling good. When we feel good, we smile. When we smile, others around us smile, too!”
Further, pets can be a pleasant distraction from concerns and walking a dog isn’t only good for physical health, but exercise has mental health benefits too. It is also true that those suffering from an illness or injury can often feel down as a result, but pets can be a truly uplifting presence, being much-needed friends that cheer us up.
READ ALSO: How to prepare for getting a pet
Pets can help you be sociable
Pets are a wonderful excuse to get out and about and meet new people. For example, dog owners can come into frequent contact when walking their dogs, strangers are often willing to offer compliments to dogs they meet – leading to conversations with the owner, and if you have friends with a dog, it can be a great excuse to spend more time with them as you walk your dogs together. Social interaction has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and feelings of loneliness and isolation so if a pet can help you to become more sociable, it will definitely be a benefit to your personal happiness.
Online pet food shop, Vet’s Kitchen, has shared this insight into how pets can benefit sociability: “People can go on walks together with many clubs organising group walks. Friendships can be formed with other pet owners, and it can open lines of communication between people who may find social situations stressful as it gives you a group of like-minded people to be around.”
Pets can give your day structure
Due to the various responsibilities that come with looking after an animal, being a pet owner can provide much-needed structure to someone’s day, helping to reduce stress. When it’s just you, it can be easy to slip into bad habits and chaotic days with little structure in them. However, when you have a pet, you need to feed them at regular intervals, give them a daily or twice daily walk, and put them to bed. Having this new structure inserted into your day can help you with organising your own life, getting up at a healthy hour, and including regular excise into your daily routine.
READ ALSO: Best pets for older people
The benefits of having pets
- Pets can keep you active
- Pets provide companionship
- Pets can help you feel safe
- Pets can be therapeutic
- Pets can help you be sociable
- Pets can give your day structure
As you can see, the benefits of pets for our happiness are numerous. Helping with everything from stress and loneliness to personal fitness, if you are considering getting a little friend at home, there are certainly some good reasons to get a pet. Just make sure you are in a position to be able to look after an animal and consider what pet would be best for you.
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This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.