Effects of Having a Pet

Adopting a pet is an exciting and consequential decision. But before the decision is finalized, many elements need to be considered, such as the possible effects pets may have on your life.

Owning a pet can lead to many positive outcomes. First, pets provide companionship and love, which can lead to increased confidence. For those who are anxious to socialize with other individuals or feel like love is lacking in their life, pets can provide unconditional love. Unlike humans who have to balance many different activities, a pet’s whole world revolves around their owner. They will always be there, and their ears are always open when their owner needs them. Pets will not judge you. Animals often sense when you are distressed, and they will attempt to offer comfort. Their unconditional support will then help boost self-confidence.

Pets can also relieve stress. Petting or playing with a pet allows the body to release oxytocin, a calming hormone, and serotonin, a happiness hormone and decreases cortisol, the stress hormone. Watching fish swimming in a tank and listening to birdsong also promotes relaxation and reduces stress and anxiety. Likely due to the calming presence of pets, studies have also shown that pets help lower blood pressure.

Having a pet may lead to increased exercise. According to the American Heart Association, dog owners typically are 54% more likely to reach the daily physical activity level and walk 30 more minutes than individuals who do not own a dog. This increased exercise leads to better cardiovascular health and reduces stress as well.

Pets help increase immunity levels. Whenever pets return from the outside, they carry inside with them germs and bacteria. Although this may produce certain levels of adverse effects, increased exposure to adequate amounts of germ and bacteria helps build immunity. 

There are also benefits specifically brought by owning a dog, such as a dog’s ability to detect cancer with their exceptional sense of smell, leading to earlier treatments for cancer patients. Case studies have also shown that families with dogs have a lower chance of being intruded by a burglar.

However, although there are many positive effects, taking care of a pet is not easy. Pets require a considerable amount of time and investment.  From the moment one decides to adopt a pet, the individual is vowing to be responsible for that animal for the rest of their life. The relationship established between the pet and its owner must be mutual. Although the individual is the owner, this does not suggest abuse and neglect on the owner’s part. As the pet provides companionship, the individual must provide the same to the pet.

In addition to basic needs, such as shelter, food, and water, owners must also be responsible for possible vaccines, parasite preventions, and spaying/neutering for their pets. Failure to do so could result in abuse and overpopulation. Owners must clean up after their pets and ensure that their pets do not disturb others. 

Therefore, considering all aspects of the changes pets bring, adopting a pet should not be an impulsive decision. However, if all responsibilities are taken care of, pets, in addition to physical and mental benefits, is a joy in life itself.