There are many reasons to get a pet, and many benefits of having a pet, but you also need to reflect on whether or not you’re ready to get a pet. See, a pet can be an incredible addition to anyone’s life.
With virtually no effort at all, these phenomenal animals bring endless joy into our lives, as well as companionship, emotional support, and even a sense of inherent safety.
Pets can also bring structure to our lives, and help us to create a healthy daily routine (including healthy daily walks), as well as giving us an extra dose of comfort when we need it most. Whether you’re a dog or a cat person, a furry friend could fill your heart with love.
While your pet can help with everything from stress and anxiety, to improving your physical health, it’s important to remember owning an animal requires a great deal of commitment and discipline. Let’s explore the benefits of getting a pet, and whether you’re ready to care for one.
Get a Pet for Your Mood: Can Pets Improve Your Overall Mood and Well-Being?
Having a pet by your side can do incredible things for your mood.
Modern life is stressful and brimming with challenges, but a pet can help you to handle negative feelings, almost with ease. Research shows around 80% of pet owners believe having a pet makes them feel less isolated or lonely. Plus, a pet can help you to actively make friends.
Whether you’re chatting to other people online about your cats and hamsters, or running into fellow dog owners at the park, you’ll find yourself communicating more regularly with other people, which is great for banishing feelings of depression and low mood.
When it comes to mental health and mood, a pet can:
- Lower your stress levels: Pets are always there for you when you’re struggling with major life events. Stroking your cat, watching your fish float around in his tank, or playing fetch with your dog can help to relax your mind and soothe your central nervous system. Pet owners even tend to have lower blood pressure.
- Reduce anxiety: Having a pet gives you a sense of confidence in a lot of ways. When you’re inside alone at night, a cat on your lap can make you feel less nervous if you’re not used to being on your own. Walking with a dog makes us feel we have an extra form of protection in unfamiliar places.
- Make you more social: Going out and meeting new people can be daunting, but with a dog by your side, you’re more likely to automatically make friends. People in the pet owner community are usually social, and happy to welcome new people into their circle.
- Help you cope with a crisis: Research shows service dogs genuinely help with post-traumatic stress disorder. Countless people find their pets help them to deal with significant issues with their mental health, panic attacks, and tricky times in their lives.
- Provide companionship: A pet ensures you never feel alone, no matter how disconnected you might feel from the rest of the world at times. They give you someone to talk to without judgement when you need to vent too!
A pet can also help you to stick to a healthy routine, which is great for your mental health. Knowing you have to walk your dog at certain times in the day means you’re less likely to stay home or lock yourself away when you’re feeling down.
Other Benefits of Pets
Pets are great for reducing mental health issues, but they can have other significant benefits too.
For instance, exercise is a common part of pet ownership. Even if you have a cat, you need to play with them regularly to keep them in good shape. Walking and training a dog require a significant amount of exercise on a regular basis.
Exercising with your pet can help you fit and healthy, increasing your energy levels and keeping you active. Even if you’re not the most outdoorsy person, if you have a dog, you’ll have something to push you out into the world, even if you’re just throwing a ball in your yard.
Pets can also:
- Improve your immune system: Though pets do bring additional germs and dirt into the house, this can actually be a good thing in the long-run. Studies have shown dogs and cats who go outside can help to make children more resilient to infections and illnesses, by helping to boost their immune system.
- Teach responsibility: Whether you have young kids, teenagers, or just a wayward spouse, pets can be an excellent way to teach responsibility and discipline. Pets really help people to develop strong routines and a deeper understanding of what it’s like to look after others.
- Help with focus: Training and caring for a pet can give you a sense of focus and purpose in your life, which can help to deter other bad habits such as binge eating, drinking, and countless other problems often prompted by listlessness and boredom.
Are You Ready to Be a Pet Owner?
Pets can lift your mood and transform your life, but they’re also living creatures who deserve a high quality of care. Getting a pet won’t always be the right option for everyone, particularly if you’re not in a stage of your life where you feel capable of looking after a living creature.
Before you jump into pet ownership, ask these questions.
Have you done your research?
All kinds of pet ownership require research. You need to know what kind of pet is best suited to your lifestyle. For instance, if you’re the kind of person who likes to be spontaneous, a cat that can look after itself for a night while you’re out partying is much more suitable than a young puppy.
It’s also worth looking into the different breeds of animal available, and how each one might be suitable for you. Huskies and larger dogs are beautiful animals, but they also require a significant amount of walking time, making them less ideal for people with a packed schedule.
Do you have the time?
If you barely have any minutes in the day for yourself after caring for children, doing your job, and tackling countless other responsibilities, a pet might not be the best stress reliever for you. Some pets will require more of your time than others. For instance, a puppy needs constant support and training to help get them into the perfect routine.
However, all animals will require you to cut at least a little bit of your schedule out for care, vet visits, and general companionship. Ask yourself if you have the time and energy to welcome a new living creature into your home.
Are you prepared to make sacrifices?
A pet can deliver endless joy and benefits into our lives, but they do need something in return – your ability to care for them. If you get a dog, you’re going to have to get up early in the morning to let them out for bathroom breaks. You’ll also need to give up other plans to make sure you’re there to take them for regular walks.
With a new animal in the house, you also won’t be able to take off on last-minute trips and adventures as often as you usually would. Unless you can take your pet with you, you’re going to have to make some changes. While you can go travelling in the long-term, you’ll also need to make sure you have pet sitters or other solutions in place to care for your dog when you’re gone.
Can you deal with changes to your home?
Bringing a new animal into your home means making some changes. Cats need litter trays and scratching posts, dogs need beds and food bowls, and virtually all animals will require you to make changes to how you run and organize your household.
You’ll also need to be ready for some messes and less than perfect décor in your home. Cats can scratch your furniture to pieces, dogs can leave messes all over the floor, and even smaller animals such as rabbits and gerbils can make quite a mess. If you prefer a sleek and beautiful home to the benefits of owning a pet, you might want to avoid a furry friend.
Are you ready to learn?
Owning a pet requires a commitment to learning. You’ll need to learn how to look after your pet correctly, such as what kind of food you need to give them and how often you should be taking them to the vet for checkups and vaccinations.
You’ll also need to learn about your specific pet. Over time, you’ll begin to recognize what the body language of your pet means, so you can determine when they need to go to the bathroom, when they’re hungry, and when they may be unwell. A commitment to constantly learning and growing with your new animal is a must.
Do you have the cash?
How does your budget look right now? All animals have different financial requirements to think about. From vet visits and vaccinations, to toys, foods, bowls, and accessories, you’re going to need to spend a decent amount on your furry (or non-furry) friend.
It’s not just the regular expenses you need to be prepared for either. Animals can also come with a number of surprise expenses which you need to be willing to deal with. You might need to keep some extra cash aside in your savings just in case something goes wrong. Paying for monthly insurance is a must too, as it can help you protect yourself long-term.
Are You Ready to Get a Pet?
A pet is a wonderful addition to virtually any home, capable of filling your life with new discoveries and love. However, it’s also a living creature reliant on you for care and protection. With that in mind, even if you’re keen to discover the benefits of a pet for yourself, you’ll need to think carefully about how well you can care for your new friend.
If now isn’t the right time for a pet for you, there are still steps you can take to improve your quality of life, such as making changes to your mental or physical health. A CircleDNA test can give you an insight into some potential mental health issues that could be affecting your wellness, so you can invest in your long-term health and happiness. Even if you do get a pet, looking after yourself means you can be there to enjoy moments with your new friend for longer!