I have a cute little dog named Charlie who I love and then love some more. Yet sometimes, while I’m schlepping to the kitchen to refill his food dish or getting up from the couch to take him on a walk, I find myself grumbling about what a cushy deal the little guy has. A pet’s life seems too good to be true!
However, that’s unfair, because really, as a pet owner, I have it just as good as he does. Turns out that pet owners reap innumerable rewards from their furry buddies. Following are some of those benefits of pet ownership and ideas on how you can “pay it forward” to your four-legged friend.
1. Owning pets helps keep us healthy. Studies have proven that animal owners get more exercise, and we all know that more exercise means healthier bodies. The CDC reports that owning a pet helps keep people’s hearts healthier and stronger. Pay your pet back by making certain that he or she is getting proper exercise. For dogs, this can mean nice long walks and special trips to parks for a play day. If you own a water breed, take him out to a lake to chase down tennis balls. For cats, get down on the floor and play with them to keep them active. Many reusables can jump out of the recycling bin and into your kitty’s paws as a toy. Or you can easily find eco-friendly toys for sale on the Internet and in local shops.
2. Pets help keep our homes safe from invasions. Dogs are great deterrents to potential intruders or burglars with their tendency to bark. Cats pitch in by being good mousers and keeping houses free of vermin. As a way of saying thank you for their protection, keep their most ferocious attributes, their teeth, nice and healthy. Provide both dogs and cats chews that promote tooth and gum health. Regular tooth brushing will also keep their chompers healthy and ready for any potential home invasions.
3. Having a pet improves children’s lives. Not only does it teach your children responsibility, but it can also keep them healthy. Studies have shown that homes with pets see more than half as few cases of asthma and allergies. Pay this forward by purchasing pet insurance and responsibly investing in his or her medical health. By purchasing cat or dog insurance, you can assure that you’ll be able to provide your pet the best health care should he or she ever need it.
4. Animals keep their owners emotionally healthy. The simple act of petting your furry friend triggers your brain to release dopamine and serotonin into your bloodstream, which in turns keeps your stress levels down and wards off anxiety and depression. Return the favor by keeping your pet well-socialized. For a dog, a simple trip to the doggy park to play with other canines will work. For cats, think about adopting a second pet to keep your purrmonster from being lonely when you’re out.
Every day Charlie proves that he loves me unconditionally. I know that by taking the steps above will help prove to him that I feel just the same.
Adria Saracino is a blogger, freelancer, and dog lover. When not rolling around with her puppy, you can find her talking about style at her personal fashion blog, The Emerald Closet.