The Benefits of Being Around Animals. Recent pet ownership statistics show that one in five U.S. households welcomes a new cat or dog into their home during the pandemic. Around 23 million people add a furry family member during this time and most already have full intentions of continuing to care for them.
Furry four-legged staff members are only the beginning; many also consider fish, ferrets, rabbits, birds, other animals and even reptiles part of the family. It seems like a no-brainer: what’s not to love about having an animal in your life?
Cats and dogs make up a significant portion of our family. They follow us around the house, cuddle in our lap, sleep by our bedside, listen to our ramblings please us with their enthusiasm and turn us into playful children. We share their photos on Instagram and buy them special treats and presents–basically they are a key family member–and take them on vacation or find someone else to care for them while we’re away.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused 23 million pets to be added to U.S. homes during the year (with more being added each day), along with millions of fish, ferrets, rabbits, birds and other animals who also love the attention! Ownership statistics show that one in five U.S. households invited a new cat or dog into their home during the pandemic, with most owners planning on continuing to care for their furry friends that were contagious during the pandemic (especially because it can get costly!).
Health benefits both physical and emotional
Yes, it’s true that people who own dogs tend to be more physically active, less obese, and have better levels of cholesterol and triglycerides than those who don’t. But there are also many other health benefits when interacting with your pet or regularly being in close contact with animals according to WebMD.
“People who have pets tend to have better levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, compared to people who don’t,” according to a recent article by WebMD,” which noted that “part of it could be the more active lifestyle that comes with having pets.” Other studies have found that pets can improve our blood pressure, help ward off heart disease, and strengthen our immunity against allergies, while researchers have also found that cat owners have fewer strokes and asthma attacks if they’re exposed to cats as infants.
In regards to improving our mental health, contact with animals is one of the most effective remedies for developing a healthier mind. “The companionship that a pet offers is a great way to reduce anxiety and stress,” according to the Mental Health Foundation. And thankfully for all New York City residents considering adding their best friends into their lives soon enough because “just think about how friendly looking dog walker you see without stopping for a pat or a quick chat.”
It’s not surprising that people who own dogs tend to be more physically active and less obese than those who don’t. But there are other health benefits of having a pet, such as having better cholesterol and triglyceride levels, staying healthier, and helping ward off heart disease. Other studies have found that pets can actually cure cancer or help us feel good after a major life event.
Pet ownership isn’t for everyone
Adopting a dog or cat is easy and usually inexpensive, but pet ownership comes with lots of responsibilities. Are you willing to rise early and let a dog out? Does your budget have room for pet food, annual vaccinations, boarding while on vacation and other expenses?
Do you have space in your house for a litter box, dog bed and toys? What other lifestyle accommodations will you have to make? Sometimes the answer is fostering. If you are interested in fostering kittens or cats in need contact CATSS (Community Action To Save Strays) in Oberlin. Or volunteer at an animal shelter or with a nonprofit that involves animals.
For instance, Leg Up for Cleveland’s Kids (LUCK) is an urban equestrian program for kids from underserved neighborhoods that uses horse activities to boost confidence and mental wellness. Also consider pet sitting for a friend. A few days with a dog, cat or bird might be just the physical and emotional boost you need. At Kendal, home to 22 dogs and 30 cats, residents who don’t own pets often have opportunities to interact with the animals as they walk through Heiser or around the campus.
If you’re interested in adopting a dog or cat, you’ll need to prepare yourself physically and financially. Do you realize that your daily life will change when you adopt a pet? You’ll have to give up some things, like eating out. And if it’s not just the one pet, be prepared for lots more responsibility. What are your priorities?