Pets have been around since the dawn of time and today more than ever they are considered one of the family. According to a 2011-2012 National Pet Owners survey, 72.9 million families in the United States have one or more pets. That comes out to about 62% of all households in the U.S. and the number has grown from 56% in 1988.
So, what is it with pets that make them such a part of our lives? For many it’s the relaxing influence they have and the way they can make all the days problems go away. It’s a known fact that pets can help relieve stress and loneliness. Pets can also improve your mood and temperament. Research has shown that people who suffer from various diseases have a lesser chance of depression if they have pets as compared to those in similar situations who don’t have pets.
Pets also create opportunities for exercise. Taking the dog out for a daily walk not only helps the dog get exercise but is beneficial to the owner as well. Health experts say that dog owners have lower blood pressure and heart rates. Even owning fish can help people get exercise when it comes time to clean the aquarium.
Keeping pets also gives parents a chance to teach their children responsibility. Wild animals are able to fend for themselves, but domesticated animals depend on their owners for food and shelter. This can teach children how to be considerate and good hearted as they grow into young adults.
Some studies have even shown that people who spend time with their pets are more likely to live longer than people who don’t.
But for many the biggest reason for having a pet is still the fact that it just makes them happy. There’s nothing like the unconditional love you get from your dog or cat. They are truly our best friends.