Your kids have been begging you to get a family pet since they could talk. As a parent, you may have reservations. Depending on your children’s ages, the burden of house training a pet, such as a dog, may rest solely on your shoulders. In addition to paying the bills, making dinner, and keeping the house clean, you may not want to add more chores to your list. You’ll also have to let the dog out early in the morning and late at night. And if you live in an apartment complex, this means stepping outside and taking your dog for a walk. Moreover, you may not want to have your clothes covered in dog or cat hair.
However, according to research, owing a pet can give you and your family several physical and mental health benefits. In fact, pets can decrease feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety (Jennings, 1997). That’s not all. In a study conducted on 938 Medicare patients, researchers compared the health maintenance of two groups over the course of a year. The group that owned pets during that year reported less stress and visited their doctor less often than those without pets (Siegel, 1990). It has even been suggested that, as humans, we have a primal need to interact with and own pets (Kellert, 1995).
It’s probably something you already suspected. It’s hard to resist the deep brown eyes of an adorable puppy dog for anyone. You may also immediately get filled with a sense of comfort and joy when you come in contact with another person’s pet. But what can you do to solve the cons of owning a pet?
1. Pick your animal wisely. Have the whole family hang around a variety of pets at your friends and families houses. You need know whether or not you or your children are potentially allergic to any type of animal.
2. Research. Once you think you’ve made your choice, research what type of breed will best suit your family. Certain pets such as dogs have better temperaments suited for families with small children. It’ll also let you know how fast or slow certain breeds train.
3. Choose a lower maintenance pet. Labra-doodles are an incredible breed. Besides have a funny name, they have the sweet disposition of a lab combined with the hypo-allergenic qualities of a poodle. This breed will not shed on your couch or your clothes. It’s also a good pick if you or your children have been known to show signs of allergies to dogs. Additionally instead of purchasing the traditional dog or cat, you could by a smaller animal such as guinea pig, bird, or hamster.
Jennings, L. B. (1997). Potential benefits of pet ownership in health promotion.Journal of Holistic Nursing, 15(4), 358-372.
Kellert, S. R., & Wilson, E. O. (1005).The biophilia hypothesis. Illinois: Island Press.
Siegel, J. M. (1990). Stressful life events and use of physician services among the elderly: The moderating role of pet ownership.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58(6), 1081-1086.