Having a furry, feathery, or even scaly friend to come home to can not only be fun, but have benefits for your well-being, too.
If you’re thinking about adding some animal companionship to your life but aren’t sure yet, read on to learn about the costs, risks, and health benefits of pets, plus see which type of pet fits you best!
Costs and Risks of Owning a Pet
If you’re thinking about getting a pet, have you considered some of these responsibilities and costs you’d have to take on?
- Regular veterinary care and grooming
- Food and medication
- Exercise and play time (this applies mostly to dogs) - do you have a fenced yard, or would you be able to go outdoors with the pet every day?
- Training and/or housebreaking
- Care or boarding if you travel
If you live in independent or assisted living, or if you otherwise rent your home, make sure pets are allowed and that there aren’t any restrictions on the type of pet you can have. And of course, if you have any kind of allergy or disease that prevents you from having a certain type of pet, you might need to do more research on one that’s right for you.
Another thing to consider before adopting a pet is your own ability. A jumpy dog that could knock you down or trip you up is likely not the best idea; nor is a new puppy that would require lots of care and attention each day.
Benefits of Owning a Pet
Pets require work and care, but they can provide unconditional love, affection, and an endless source of entertainment.
Besides being fun, pets can provide a greater sense of well-being. Some studies have shown that pet owners have lower levels of cortisol, a stress-producing hormone, as well as lower blood pressure.
This may be because owning a pet can bring feelings of companionship, according to Harvard Health. Having a pet means there’s always someone waiting for you when you get home, and taking care of something else can help provide a sense of purpose.
Pets can help you stay social and get some exercise, too. If you opt for a dog, you’ll get exercise from taking the dog out for a walk each day and might meet up with fellow dog owners on the way. And because most pets need to go to the veterinarian or a groomer regularly, you’ll have a reason to get out of the house.
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What Kind of Pet Should I Get?
Different types of pets can offer different benefits. Your personality, lifestyle, and home will dictate which type of pet is right for you, but some of the biggest benefits of different animals are outlined below:
- Dogs are social and active; most dogs like to show affection and need to go outside often, so you’ll have a reason to get out and about.
- Cats are typically more laid-back and mellow. If you prefer a quiet presence in the house, a cat might suit you best.
- Birds don’t need exercise and many breeds of birds are quite intelligent. If you don’t have the time or energy to keep up with a furry creature, a bird could be a good choice.
- Fish are the ultimate low-maintenance pet, but you can put as much time and effort into these pets as you wish - from a single betta to a large saltwater tank with many types of fish.
- Hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs are a good mix between a low-maintenance bird or fish and a furry creature you can hold. Hamsters are the smallest, sometimes weighing just a few ounces; guinea pigs are largest, weighing a few pounds.
Try our fun quiz below to see which type of pet could be right for you.
Pets at Otterbein SeniorLife
Pets of all shapes and sizes are welcome at Otterbein’s independent living patio homes or villas as long as they’re safe for other residents and on a leash in common areas.
Our independent living apartments have some restrictions on pets, so ask an Otterbein SeniorLife counselor for details. If your pet ever needs walking, grooming, or medical care, Otterbein Wellness Services can help.
Pets can help boost your physical and emotional well-being. Here at Otterbein, we’re dedicated to whole-person wellness through nine different degrees. Learn more about how we promote wellness and get tips you can use today for a healthier lifestyle in our free guide.