Image of cat showing benefits of owning a pet

Our Top 10 Reasons for Owning A Pet

We are not alone in knowing the benefits of owning a pet.  Since the start of the pandemic 3.2 million households invited pets into their homes.  And, according to the Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association, nearly two-thirds of new owners are Gen Z and Millenials!

by Emma Johnson

Studies estimate that about 12 million cats, 12 million dogs, 3.2 million small mammals and 3 million birds live in our homes. On top of that a further 1.5 million reptiles and 5 million fish! The term pet owner is interesting because we are certain there are few pets who would see themselves as owned! They are definitely members of the family though.

When they say pet is for life, it really is. While many people found their new pets helped their mental health during the lockdown the reality has now stunk in. Unfortunately, animal charities are increasingly concerned about pet welfare and abandonment. This comes are many new owner felt like their new pet was harder and more challenging than having a new baby or children. Only a few months into owning their new pets many owners have already given them up.

They may be hard work but research shows the many benefits of inviting a  pet into your home:

  1. Mental Health – Over the years, pets have helped with as well as mood and stress. They definitely reduce that feeling of isolation  by created a bond and mutual need. At the same time dogs, in particular, can make you more sociable as it is hard to avoid social interaction from other dog walkers. Cats are not far behind, mostly as of their inquisitive nature and cuddly approach! Stroking and cuddling pets can actually reduce aggression in some people too. If you looking to build trust with people, a pet is the way to go.
  2. Physical Health – according to a study by Andrea Beetz et al pets can help with physical health as well as mental health. Their calming effect on us and the chemicals they release can help to reduce physical symptoms.  They’ve even thought to assist some people to reduce heart rate and blood pressure. There is even evidence of benefits to the immune system and pain management
  3. Education – dogs and other animals have more recently been used to improve learning outcomes in some children. They are shown to help to improve social behaviour and interactions and enhance empathy which in turn may help improve focus. Some experts believe that a child who reads to a pet will improve their reading skills as they are likely to develop more confidence. Children can also learn to take on more responsibility when looking after a pet.
  4. Exercise – Let’s face it, we all need to get out more and do more exercise. We all know the benefits of being outdoors in nature and a dog will get you there.
  5. Friendship and Sociability – Pets, as we have said, are conversation instigators.  As well as this, you are more likely to trust a pet owner, in fact, on line dating is more successful for people who show a pet on their picture. A pet can sometimes be the only form of communication that an older person will have all day.
  6. Make you Laugh – pets do the funniest things, and Channel 5 even made a programme to prove it! One of my cats eats broccoli, while the other one has learnt to open the microwave. Think of the funny comments the pet parrot will repeat at just the wrong time.
  7. Safety – A dog can help you to feel more secure and protected. While you may know you German shepherd is soft and cuddly, a potential attacker does not. Dogs are also very loyal and will want to protect you no matter what.
  8. Keep You Warm – whether it is your cat snuggling against your tummy or your dog sprawled across your legs on a cold winter’s night – they’ll keep you warm and happy.
  9. No judgement –  a pet doesn’t judge, or shout –  they may bark loudly, miaou or quack to get your attention but they are generally always their for you and why wouldn’t you be there for them.
  10. Inspiring Creativity – pets have always inspired the most creative of people. Think of the artist in the film “The Electrical Life of Louis Waine”. Ernest Hemingway, Emily Carr and Edvard Munch were all inspired by their pets. Frida Kahlo was known for her pets, hairless dogs, monkeys, an Amazon parrot and even an eagle. These pets apparently helped her cope with the fact that she could not have children. Fifty-five of her 143 paintings feature her animals.

Now you have read these reasons for owning a pet, there is no excuse not to find your own benefits.

If you are thinking about taking on a pet, consider rehoming before any other option:

Milton Keynes and North Bucks RSPCA

Tel: 01908 611179

Website: Milton Keynes and North Bucks RSPCA 

National Animal Welfare Trust

Tel: 01908 584000

Website: HULA Animal Rescue Centre

MK Cat Rescue

Tel: 07741 510799

Website: MK Cat Rescue

Cats Protection Milton Keynes

Tel: 01908 984799

Website: Cats Protection Milton Keynes