Pets manage to bring so much joy into our lives. They make us laugh, comfort us when we’re sick or upset, and are always there for us no matter what. It’s no wonder that an estimated 12 million British households choose to keep a pet.
Not everyone understands the bond between human and beast, though, or even realises how much pets do for their owners. We take a look at ten of the benefits of having a furry friend.
1) They keep you fit
All breeds of dog need regular, daily walks in order to stay happy and healthy, and so do we! However, we sometimes have the tendency to get a bit lazy – if that sounds like you, a dog is the perfect cure! They’ll be dragging you out the front door and making you run around the park each and every day. Yes, a dog is possibly the best personal trainer you could ask for.
2) They make sure you’re never lonely
If you live by yourself, or your partner works different shift patterns to you, it can get awfully lonely at home – unless you have a pet, of course! Cats and dogs make great companions – they’ll always be waiting for you to come home and they’ll be happy to lend an ear should you want to moan about the awful day you’ve had. Plus, most of the time, they’re up for a snuggle on the sofa.
3) They lower your stress levels
Modern life is stressful and high levels of anxiety can lead to numerous health problems. Luckily, pets can really help us relax – stroking your cat or simply watching fish swim around in a tank can make your worries melt away. Previous studies have proven that pet owners tend to have lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels than people who don’t own a pet. That means having a furry pal can decrease the chances of suffering a heart attack later in life.
4) They can help you make friends
The pet owner community is an incredibly friendly one – you’ll often find that people will stop to talk to you about your dog in the park. Having a pet is a great way to meet new people and create bonds quickly, especially if you’re not too good at small talk. You never know, owning a dog may help you meet the love of your life!
5) They can improve your immune system
Pets spend a lot of their time outside and therefore bring all sorts of dirt and germs into your home. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though – the additional germs can help improve your immunity to colds and other mild illnesses. In fact, previous studies have shown that babies who live with a dog tend to experience fewer infections and are generally healthier than those who don’t.
6) They can stop your children from developing allergies
While it’s no guarantee that owning a pet will stop your children from developing certain allergies, the evidence suggests the dander in their fur may help. However, it’s worth noting that you should never own a cat or dog if you are allergic to them – you won’t suddenly become immune!
7) They can catch cancer early
It’s no secret that a dogs’ sense of smell is incredible, but did you know that some canines are capable of detecting cancer? Several pet owners have reported that their dog saved their lives after they noticed they were constantly pawing at, sniffing or even licking a tumour hidden underneath the skin.
8) They can teach kids responsibility
Every parent has heard the question ‘Can I have a pony/puppy/hamster?’ at some point in their child’s life. It’s no secret that kids love animals, and if they’re old enough, having one as a pet can actually teach them a lot of important skills. Not only will they learn the practical skills required to own a pet, such as cleaning out the cage, grooming and teaching tricks; they’ll also develop their nurturing and empathy skills, which are vital in later life.
9) They make you feel safe
Not everyone likes being home alone, but having a cat or dog there can make you feel a lot safer. Plus, burglars are less likely to target a house that’s clearly home to a dog. Some breeds make excellent guard dogs and will even protect you when you’re out for a run or walk.
10) They can provide companionship to children with learning difficulties
Children with autism and similar learning disorders often find it difficult talking to fellow human beings, but they have no problem at all with chatting away to friendly animals. After all, your pets can’t answer back and will always keep your secrets!
Looking after a pet is a big responsibility, but when you consider all the benefits above, they make all that hard work worthwhile. Whether you choose to keep a cat, dog, horse or hamster, they’ll make a great companion.