Pet ownership can be an excellent option to improve your life. Pets can aid your mental health, improve your relationships, and even help control your blood pressure. As you read, you will learn more about these and other exciting ways pets can benefit your life. You will also find out about about unique pets you can own.
1. Pets Aid Mental Health
Pet ownership is a great way to improve mental health. As reported by rtor.org, interacting with pets releases a relaxation hormone that decreases stress. And studies by John Hopkins Medicine show that“84 percent of post-traumatic stress disorder patients paired with a service dog reported a significant reduction in symptoms”. These results indicate that pets can also help raise your oxytocin levels, which helps you feel good.
An additional benefit of owning a pet is that it improves your mood by easing your loneliness, giving you a sense of togetherness with their presence. You will slowly build a bond as you care for your pets by feeding them, learning their habits, and spending time with them during walks and in training. Over time your pets will grow more comfortable with you and show their affection, which can help you forget the negative aspects of your life and focus on more positive things.
2. Pets Improve Physical Health
Depending on what kind of pet you adopt, you may be required to take it out for daily walks. Fitbark.com recommends that you take your dog for a walk for at least twenty minutes daily, gradually increasing the time each day. Once your dog is used to the walks, you can change the pace by running or jogging. Walking, running, and jogging are all great cardio exercises.
As stated by cdc.gov, doing these regular walking cycles with your pet can help control your blood pressure and decrease your cholesterol levels. Thus, maintaining a steady walking schedule will minimize your chance of developing heart disease. Exercise can also improve your cognitive function, especially as an older adult, by working on your memory and reducing anxiety. Additionally, caring for a pet requires you to engage in thinking, learning, and problem-solving, which all enhance brain functions and reduce cognitive decline such as dementia.
3. Pets Provide Social Opportunities
Pet ownership provides you with additional social opportunities. Pets help establish connections within your neighborhood, especially when many people do not own them and are curious about the ones that live there. By speaking with your neighbors interested in your animals, you can build friendships and trust, and you may even get assistance caring for your pet when needed.
Building these social connections can also benefit your health. As health.harvard.edu states, “people who have solid social networks are 50% more likely to live longer than those with limited social networks.” If you want to meet new people, your pet can be an excellent icebreaker to start a conversation. For example, if you see someone playing with their dog at the park, you can ask questions like, “Does your dog know tricks?” or “How long have you owned your dog?” This can create an opportunity to converse as you may relate to them if you have or want the same type of pet.
4. Pets Give a Sense of Responsibility
If you have children, then pet ownership can be a great way to teach them responsibility. Kids are interested in cute animals like puppies or kittens; however, you may need to talk with them about how much work it takes to raise animals as pets. You also need to discuss how a pet changes as it grows. For instance, pot-belly pigs have become a popular choice for a pet. Some kids may think piglets stay small and cute; they may not know that piglets grow much larger as they get older and require a lot more work to care for. You must ensure that, even with the changes, the kids are still willing to take care of their pets. Your kids will learn important lessons about responsibility and empathy if they are up to the challenge. Children learn the importance of caring for others through chores such as feeding their pets, cleaning up after them, and providing regular exercise.
Furthermore, pets can be excellent companions for your children. Because pets provide unconditional love, they will be there for life’s ups and downs. Children who learn to open up their hearts to their pets may have an easier time doing the same with the humans in their lives, facilitating the building of friendships, for example. Children can take the lessons from pet ownership about compassion, loyalty, and respecting boundaries to improve their relationships with others. Furthermore, thrive.kaiserpermanente.org mentions that children can build immunity to many allergies if exposed to animals, which can be beneficial in life.
5. Pets Fit Your Needs
Traditional pets like cats and dogs are good company, but exotic animals may be a good choice for a unique experience. These kinds of pets have unusual behaviors that can create a great learning experience. For example, hedgehogs are temperamental, so you need to have patience and learn how to tame them with handling and habituation. Frogs are another popular option, but one must learn how to properly handle them without damaging the frog’s delicate skin. Lizards, like a chuckwalla, are skittish, so you will have to slowly build trust with them through consistent and gradually increased periods of handling.
Some exotic pets have fewer space requirements. For instance, small mammals like gerbils often only need cages, so they are a great option if you have a small home. Also, if you are allergic to animals with fur or hair, you can consider reptiles or fish. These types of pets are also advantageous if you have a busy schedule, as you will not have to invest ample time into taking them for walks. However, it is still important to interact with your exotic pet outside of its cage daily to get them more socialized.
With the learning experience of owning exotic pets comes greater responsibility as they require specific environmental and social needs. For instance, chipmunks and spiny mice are active and will require larger enclosures so they have room to explore; they also need opportunities for enrichment and exercise. To own an exotic pet, you must first prepare by educating yourself about the needs of the specific animal you are interested in adopting.
There are many benefits you can gain regarding pet ownership. Pets can improve your mental and physical health, relationships, and life skills. Furthermore, pet ownership can make for a great lesson in responsibility and caring for others, especially children. Exotic pets are also a good option if you have little living space or allergies to certain animals. If you want to learn other ways to improve your soft skills, visit WorldWise Tutoring!
Written by Xavien Timoll