A pet is an animal kept for companionship and enjoyment or a household animal, as opposed to livestock, laboratory animals, working animals or sport animals, which are kept for economic reasons. The most popular pets are noted for their loyal or playful characteristics, for their attractive appearance, or for their song. Pets also generally seem to provide their owners with non-trivial health benefits; keeping pets has been shown to help relieve stress to those who like having animals around. There is now a medically-approved class of "therapy animals," mostly dogs, that are brought to visit confined humans. Walking a dog can provide both the owner and the dog with exercise, fresh air, and social interaction.
Pets have the ability to stimulate their caregivers, in particular the elderly, giving people someone to take care of, someone to exercise with, and someone to help them heal from a physically or psychologically troubled past. Having a pet may help people achieve health goals, such as lowered blood pressure, or mental goals, such as decreased stress. There appears to be strong evidence that having a pet can help a person lead a longer, healthier life. In a study of 92 people hospitalized for coronary ailments, within a year 11 of the 29 without pets had died, compared to only 3 of the 52 who had pets. A recent study concluded that owning a pet can reduce the risk of a heart attack by 2% and that pets are better than medication in reducing blood pressure. Owning a pet can also prolong survival of a heart attack. Dogs which are trained to be guide dogs can help people with disabilities.
The Importance of Pets
Most people do not doubt that pets are great companions and that they are good for everybody (young and old people). To many adults, especially those who live alone, animals are like family members. They fulfil your need for affection and attention like only animals can do. To children, in addition to being their companions all day, animals also serve to help them learn day-to-day things. Animals show the circle of life in an accelerated way compared to human beings (birth, youth, adulthood, old age and dying). They also show children other things related to life such as having an accident, getting ill and knowing how to take care of themselves. As these phases are more accelerated in animals than in human beings the children learn about them through the animals. Moreover, animals help the children to develop their sense of responsibility, since they need to be taken care of constantly. In a study performed by Robert Bierer it was concluded that children, aged ten to twelve who had animals had more empathy towards others and higher self-esteem. Pets also help children to reduce their anxiety, tediousness and fear and to develop a better capacity to integrate and to be more focused in school.
There are many important factors in the choice of a pet. The fact that the person who acquires it can have allergies (like asthma, bronchitis, etc.) is one. If that is the case, the person should opt for an animal that does not provoke allergies, for example, an aquarium with fish or a turtle.
Another important factor is the age of the children that will socialize with the animal. Despite each child having its proper rhythm of maturity, the appropriate age to have a first pet is from six years onward. At this age the child is already familiar with school, is already more sociable and will possibly already understand its responsibilities towards its’ animal. In other words, it will understand that it cannot mistreat the animal and it must care for its’ hygiene and feeding.
When a married couple already has a pet and the woman gets pregnant, it is necessary to train the animal to adapt to the pregnancy and later to the arrival of the baby. The animal might not like to share attention, it can feel rejected. After the birth of the child there must always be an adult to supervise playing, as the animal can bite or scratch the child unintentionally. This occurs mostly when the child starts to crawl or walk. You also have to be careful with the child in relation to the animal as the child can hurt the animal due to the fact that it is still not mature enough to deal with the animal.
Dogs are playful and adapt easily to children, but they need to take a bath once a week and to have a walk at least once a day, even if it is a short walk. Therefore it is necessary to consider if the future owner of the animal has the possibility to provide the treatment that it needs. Cats have better hygiene and are practically independent. They learn to use the catbox on their own and they lick themselves clean daily, thus they only need to take a bath once a month (at the time of the bath their claws should be cut too and in case you don’t know how to, it is better to take the cat to the vet).
It can be concluded that, despite the work and the constant attention animals need, we are always rewarded. They give us joy, company and loyalty like nobody else.