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How Do Pets Really Impact You?

by Megan Poley, Alvernia University

Sep 26, 2019

People have all different types of pets: cats, dogs, fish, spiders, snakes, bunnies, hamsters. There is an endless number of animals that people keep in their homes. You may not even realize it, but pets are super beneficial to a human being’s overall health. Some have more benefits than others, but all pets in some way positively impact you.

One of the most common ways that owning a pet benefits you is that they give you a sense of purpose, according to an article from Harvard Health Publishing. Because you have to care for a pet, you have daily responsibilities such as feeding, cleaning, or walking. These responsibilities help to make the owner feel important because another living creature relies on them to survive.

Some pets, such as cats and dogs, constantly provide a source of validation as well as unconditional love. Pet owners always come home to their cat or dog who is readily happy to see them and display their affection, which helps in reducing stress. It physically lowers your blood pressure and boosts your levels of oxytocin, which is the “feel good” chemical in your brain. (Harvard Health Publishing)  Pets are extremely good for your mental health by giving you purpose as well as making you feel relaxed and happy.

Having a pet can also benefit you physically. Some pets require time outside, or some area designated for them to play. This desire would encourage the owner to get active, either by running, walking, or even playing in the yard. (Harvard Health Publishing)  Some people do not enjoy physical activity, but by interacting with your pets, it may not be such a dreadful use of your time. According to an article written by Tracy Trautner, an educator at Michigan State University, taking your pets out on walks or being outside with them in some way can help owners to be more social. Talking about your pets is a perfect ice breaker and an interesting topic to learn about. Without even realizing it, you are more active as well as more social, all because you own a pet.

Owning a pet is an easy way to learn or continue practicing different life skills, especially for children. Pets enforce compassion, as we learn to love our animal friends and care for their overall well-being. (Trautner)  You easily learn responsibility. Having a pet requires a lot of attention and work, so over time you will develop more skills to make sure your pet is taken care of and stays healthy. Lastly, owning a pet teaches patience. A pet may not always listen to your commands or do things that you do not condone. It would be easy to lose your temper and get frustrated with your pet; however, keeping your calm may make training your pet easier. Pets are wonderful companions, but also spectacular teachers.

Pets have numerous beneficial qualities and ways that they impact your life. They shower you in love but also give you different opportunities in life, whether it’s socializing or staying physically active. Owning a pet, at any age, has terrific benefits that make you happier and your life more interesting.

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