Are you cracking your head on whether to keep a pet? Some people keep pets because they found a neighbor or relative with one, and it looked cool only to realize after a couple of months or years, that they made a terrible mistake. Then they have to hustle on how to put it out for adoption. Quite a waste of time and resources, isn’t it?
The decision to keep pets is easy to reach if you know the merits and demerits. So here, I present three main reasons, backed by medical research, to help you clear your thoughts.
But before delving further, here are some interesting stats.
How Many People in the World Own Pets?
Almost six in every ten households worldwide own a pet. The number is higher in the US, with 68% while in the UK, only 50% of adults own a pet. But Argentina carries the gold medal with the highest number of pet owners estimated at 82%.
What are the Most Popular Pets?
Many surveys show cats and dogs are the most common pets. For instance, the US alone has 86.4 million cats and 78.2 million dogs.
And these are not the only pets. Other pet types include fish, birds, and reptiles, small indoor and large outdoor mammals.
When Did People Start Keeping Pets?
Scientists are still trying to sort out evidence on when people started to domesticate animals, but archeological studies estimate that humans have kept dogs from as far as 13,000 to 30,000 years ago.
If so, why has the relationship with companion animals survived for these eons? What benefits do people get from the relationship?
Let’s dig through a few clinical studies for expert opinions, starting with the positives and end with the bad news.
What Are the Benefits of Keeping a Pet?
It’s not human nature to do something for nothing. Researchers have studied the relationship between human health and pets. And here are some findings.
1. Pets Boost Your Health
Medical research has shown that interacting with pets can reduce your blood pressure and stress levels. According to a 2001 study, stroking your dog or observing fish gliding up and down in their aquarium can relax you, which has the potential to give you a longer life. As you might know, high stress is a killer and is linked to the six leading causes of death in the US today — cancer heart disease, lung ailments, cirrhosis of the liver, accidents, and suicide.
But not all scientists agree.
A 2010 study found that heart attack victims had a 22% chance to die or have a remission- and worse so if they owned a cat, compared to a 14% chance for those without pets.
So, yes, the cuddly cat can send you to your maker quicker if you have a bad heart.
Also, pets like rodents, cats, and dogs produce fur and dander, which can cause or worsen respiratory allergy, but other pets such as snakes are dander free.
That’s why your choice of pet matters.
2. Pets Boost Your Level of Self-Worth
Do you feel unsure, unwanted, and worthless? Take heart. Your pet thinks that you are the best thing that ever happened on earth. Why so? Because she counts on you for her life. She depends on you to provide everything she needs to live a happy life, such as healthy food, clean water, a cozy place to sleep, exercise to stay fit, and general safety.
Pet owners have greater life satisfaction, higher self-esteem, and feel more ambitious because of this responsibility and self-worth.
3. Pets are Suitable for Your Kids Too
Children attached to their pets are more confident, weep less often, have higher self-esteem and relate better with other kids.
Those are three good reasons why you should look for a pet.
Now let’s look at the other side of the coin.
Can You Afford the Cost of Owning a Pet?
That’s a pertinent question to consider and has been the reason why some people avoid keeping pets.
Let’s say, for instance, you want to keep a dog. You will have to bear some costs upfront, including the value of the dog, an initial medical exam, spaying or neutering, a carrying crate, and a dog house. You will also dole out some cash for training the dog, which is often above $100. Also, while at home, you will cater for food, toys, the occasional treats, and an annual medical examination.
Another cost that a lot of people forget is for pet insurance. The cost of treating a sudden illness can quickly skyrocket to thousands of dollars — or more, especially for exotic pets needing specialized treatment. So, it’s best to either insure your pet or set aside an emergency fund where you contribute regularly.
My Final Thoughts
Hey, I loved Terry, my bulldog. His death, after 16 years of boundless love and companionship, devastated me. Terry was a devoted member of my family. But, not only was he pleasant to my family, my neighbors too felt the loss. I received quite a handful of heartfelt condolence messages from the people whose lives he had touched one way or another.
So, what is my stand?
I will vote in favor of pets, any day, any time.
How about you? Pets or no pets?
We only have one life to live. If you feel better sharing your life with a companion animal, why not? Go for it.