The valuable role pets play in a person’s life

Having pets can bring many benefits to the owners, such as stress relief, routine, companionship and exercise. Pets are especially advantageous for children, the elderly and those with disabilities.

One study, mentioned by News in Health, focused on how animals can help children with ADHD. In a test-taking experiment children with ADHD who were placed in rooms with dogs had much better results than the children with the same condition in rooms without them. Their overall focus, socialization and engagement was higher as a result of being around the dogs.

Service  dogs, therapy dogs, and emotional support dogs, while not technically “pets,” are companions that help people manage physical and mental illnesses. According to CNN Health, research backs up that having animals around can help mood and anxiety improve dramatically. Service dogs can aid people with many different kinds of disabilities and illnesses gain independence and manage their symptoms.

Pets that require outdoor maintenance  provide a great incentive for pet owners to get the recommended amount of exercise each week. Harvard Magazine discusses how owners are far more motivated to work out for their pets through taking them on walks than they would be on their own, and they both get to reap the benefits of exercising. While people may tend to be less motivated to live active lifestyles for themselves, pets such as dogs and horses need exercise to be healthy, and owners typically strive to meet those needs in some way.

Pets provide a sense of routine for their owners. They know their feeding time, walking time and bedtime. Animals bring any slipup in their routine to their owner’s attention quickly. If a cat does not have its breakfast at the time it is used to, it will often wake its owners up to ensure it gets some.

Dogs especially provide companionship in an increasingly lonely world; they are there to excitedly welcome owners home, waiting for belly rubs and snuggles every day. They are ready to meet every person they pass on the street when owners take them for walks, leading to more social interactions than those without pets. Pets provide connection and love unconditionally in a conditional world.

For children and the elderly particularly, the friendship that an animal can supply is highly valuable.  The elderly experience less loneliness when  they have something to take care of and to keep them busy. Children can learn responsibility, be encouraged to exercise, and have a loyal friend from owning a pet.

While pets come with many benefits, it is important to be aware of the risks which may be associated with bringing animals into one’s home. The CDC recommends washing hands after many types of interactions with pets and recommends being aware of the ages and immune system capabilities of those in your household prior to purchasing a pet. Pregnant women, children, and those with compromised immune systems could be at risk around certain types of pets, but be assisted by other types.

Pets of all kinds are beneficial from fish to horses as long as they are the right fit for the household of which they are a part. They want nothing more than a full belly and a loving relationship with their owners. Give your pets some love and treats to thank them for all the benefits they can bring to you, and take them on an extra walk to get some exercise.

Carter is an opinion writer for the Liberty Champion

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