We all know about the stereotypical “Crazy Cat Lady”, and everyone knows someone that’s obsessive about their dog.  Then there are people who love owning pocket pets like hamsters and mice.  Some people are smitten with their bird, or maybe their ferret. Other people own more exotic pets, like sugar gliders or de-scented skunks.  There are a multitude of pets to choose from, and there are benefits beyond just the desire to own a pet.  Here are a few:

  1. One of the best reasons to own a pet is the simple, constant companionship they provide. When you’re feeling lonely or isolated, knowing your pet is there can make an enormous difference.  Regardless of the fact they cannot talk back to you, or make a proper dance partner, that doesn’t mean they don’t love it when you talk to them and some pets, like dogs, will get excited with you when you dance.
  2. Pets are also great for reducing stress. Studies have shown that the act of petting an animal can help lower stress levels and make you feel calmer and more at peace.
  3. Giving you something to be responsible for, sometimes a pet can make you feel as though you have purpose. Depression, or even just a case of listlessness, can make you feel like you’re not doing anything important with your life.  Having a pet can help ease these feelings, since you know your pet is depending on you.
  4. Some pets help you get exercise. Things like walking your dog (or possibly even your cat!) ensure you will get movement in daily.  Other pets can be helpful too, like the care that horses require, not to mention the enjoyment of riding them.
  5. Living longer after having a heart attack and helping to calm people with Alzheimer’s are just a couple of the extra health benefits a pet may provide.
  6. They’re just plain entertaining! Pets’ antics can give you a hearty laugh just when you need one, and laughter has been shown to lower blood pressure and improve cardiac health.  They can provide more calming entertainment, such as watching your aquarium, as well.
  7. Pets can improve your social life and expand your social circles. Taking a dog for a walk or to the dog park gives people a perfect opportunity to speak to you.  Even if you can’t take your pet out for exercise, having one can give you common ground with someone whom you may not have anything else you can agree on.
  8. Sensing danger could help your pet save your life. There are many stories of pets alerting their families to fires while they sleep.  They can also help with certain medical conditions, such as sensing low blood sugar or when their owner is about to have an epileptic seizure.

These are just some of the reasons pet ownership is good for you.  They can help you both mentally and physically improve your health.  There are many types of pets you may choose to own, based on your personality and the amount of time you have to devote to them.  Some require more time than others, but there’s a pet out there for everyone!

*Feature image located at  http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/wxxi2/files/201607/Pets.jpg

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