Did you know that Americans spend over $66 billion a year on their pets? That might sound crazy, but pets have a lot to give in return. Studies show that pet owners are happier, healthier, and even live longer. What’s their secret? What is it that pets are doing to make such an amazing difference?
Keeping you fit
One of the obvious differences that pets make is keeping you fit. Dogs and horses are best at this, but lots of pets like to play, and having energetic small pets in the household encourages children to see the fun in physical activity. Pets also promote good mental health, with their natural affection and sympathy helping people cope with depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Soldiers recovering from war and children recovering from cancer both do better when they have pets to keep them company.
Helping you socialize
As every dog owner knows, it’s easy to get talking to new people when out walking together. Cats don’t quite have the same effect, but they often charm visitors and help to solidify friendships. Shy children can really benefit from getting close to pets, and social animals such as dogs and rabbits can help show them how to interact with other people. Pets help to make children more confident and better at empathy, while looking after them helps children learn responsibility and understand how they fit into society.
As well as being loving and loyal, pets can provide assistance in all sorts of practical ways. Guide dogs are probably the best-known assistance animals, but other dogs help deaf people, and others can tell if their owners are about to have seizures. Cats can help to strengthen bones by purring while sitting on their owners’ laps. Dogs can guard their owners, and studies show that housebreakers generally won’t bother trying to get into a property if they can hear barking behind the door.
Sharing the journey
Whether we’re experiencing the happiest days of our lives or the saddest, it’s always good to have somebody to share them with. When you have a pet, you know that there will always be somebody there for you, ready to listen if not necessarily understand – and in return, you’ll be there for your pet. Helping pets through their own difficult times means always being able to make the world a little better. When your pet eventually passes away, a pet cremation or burial service gives you the chance to pay tribute to the most loyal of friends.
In the modern world, it’s all too easy to become cut off from other people, eating and sleeping and working without much time for social contact. Pets fill a gap, and we can relate to them in a way that fits in better with our natural instincts. Whether you’re playing together, cleaning and grooming, or just relaxing together after a long day, a pet is somebody who will always make life that bit more wonderful.