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amazing benefits of pets - stepfamily enjoying the outdoors with their pet

The Paws-itively Amazing Benefits of Pets

A pet is a member of the family, a best friend and long-term companion. Our furry friends greet us at the door, lay with us when we’re sick and stay by our side through thick and thin.

They are affectionate, devoted and forgiving – the very definition of unconditional love. Studies have also shown pets are good for our mental health!

According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, people with pets are simply more content and happier in many aspects of their lives. A press release discussing the results included commentary from researchers explaining the numerous positive impacts discovered among pet owners.

“We observed evidence that pet owners fared better, both in terms of well-being outcomes and individual differences than non-owners on several dimensions,” said lead researcher Allen R. McConnell, Ph.D., of Miami University in Ohio.

“Specifically, pet owners had greater self-esteem, were more physically fit, tended to be less lonely, were more conscientious, were more extraverted, tended to be less fearful and tended to be less preoccupied than non-owners.”

For families, pets often have even more benefits to children. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry reported children often confide their secrets to their pets.

An animal acts as a quiet friend who will keep secrets without the worry of having those deep thoughts shared with others in the world. All pets provide companionship and comfort.

Cat lovers can attest to how their own happiness increases when their feline friends elicit a content purr or rub against their leg. And there is a reason why kitten videos enjoy insane popularity on YouTube!

Fuzzy kittens (and puppies!) are pure joy and cuddly cuteness. Of course, fluffy guinea pigs and chatty parrots also provide hours of amusement for owners.

amazing benefits of pets - stepdaughter with her tabby

Pets, of course, also help boost exercise levels for both adults and children. Dogs especially love outdoor activities, which encourages their owners to get outside and enjoy an active lifestyle.

Even feisty cats can encourage owners to actively engage. Some pets, however, offer even more benefits for both their owners…and others.

Therapy animals spend many hours comforting and cuddling patients in hospitals, individuals with physical disabilities or children and adults who have emotional needs.

A middle school in Topeka even has utilized therapy dogs to help curb bullying. Landon Middle School’s psychologist Stephanie Avila uses two therapy dogs to comfort victims of bullying.

The dogs also act as a means of helping bullies become more compassionate. Schools in New York also have brought therapy dogs in to teach lessons on bullying.

And in Texas, Angel Paws (in Waco) works with schools to teach about bullying. Angel Paws also brings their therapy dogs to universities to help students cope with stress during finals season.

For families who want to reap the rewards of pet ownership but who aren’t sure which pet to adopt into their household, sit down and discuss the responsibilities and rewards of each pet to decide which one is perfect for the family. Kids who want a dog need to understand that a dog (or puppy) comes with many responsibilities.

Dogs need exercise, outdoor potty breaks and lots of attention. They also require regular vaccinations and check-ups to remain healthy.

If a dog is still the right choice, opt for family-friendly breeds like Labrador retrievers, Golden Retrievers or smaller breeds like poodles and the bubbly breed many don’t even know about–the Norwich Terrier.

amazing benefits of pets - picture of a Norwich terrier

The Norwich Terrier

Cats are a bit less responsibility for kids. However, there’s the extra task of the litter box, and that indoor potty must be cleaned at least weekly…or else!

And cats—like dogs—also require vet visits for check-ups and vaccinations. Cats often live long lives, so understand that cats can be an almost 20-year commitment.

Whichever pet fits into the family, the rewards and benefits of pet ownership will be numerous. Pets – whether they’re feathered, furry or even scaly—become best friends, playmates and devoted companions.

And so often, pets fill a void…and they end up completing the family.

About The Author

Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary Smith is a free-lance journalist whose love of gadgets, technology and business has no bounds. After becoming a parent she now enjoys writing about family and parenting related topics. @HilaryS33 hilarylsmith.wordpress.com

Introducing your children to a family pet is an excellent way to bring the household together. It also helps to teach children valuable lessons while they’re growing up. There are many different things your children can learn from owning a pet whether you have just adopted a puppy, kitten or any other type of animal for your family to love and care for together.

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