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Companion animals
Family Health

The Joy of Companion Animals: Finding the Best Pet for You

Adopting a pet is a wonderful act of kindness for your new friend and for yourself. Pets bring joy, ease loneliness, and even have some surprising benefits for your health. But what are the best companion animals for your household? Here are some ideas to get you started down the wonderful path to adoption.

The Benefits of Pets

If you're a little undecided about adopting a pet, consider the many benefits they offer. Pets bring joy every day with their fun antics and the love they have for their human benefactors. They also ease loneliness and can help get you out of a rut. Taking your dog for a walk can give your day a much-needed boost, filming your cat for social media can bring a good dose of quirky fun, and sometimes your friends will drop by just so they can play with your new companion!

There are also many health benefits to owning a pet. Owning a pet can lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, reduce childhood allergies, and relieve depression. In fact, the American Stroke Association found that owning a pet lowers your risk of a heart attack.

Bird, Dog, or Cat?

Now that you know you want a pet, how do you decide between a bird, dog, cat, or other type of animal? One thing to consider is your activity level. Dogs often need to go for walks and may thrive on obedience training. Cats are more self-reliant, but they need play time too; some energetic breeds, like Bengals, need lots of exercise. Birds don't need daily walks, but some breeds are social and shouldn't be left alone for too long. You might even consider a more "unusual" type of pet, like a ferret, sugar glider, lizard, or rabbit. These pets may require special care, so research them thoroughly first.

Here are some more points to keep in mind when choosing a pet.

  • If you already have a pet, determine whether your new one will get along with it (or vice versa).
  • Are you looking for a quiet lap pet, a companion to accompany you on outings, or a pet that's good with small children?
  • Do you work long hours? Find out if your prospective pet needs frequent attention or can handle being alone.
  • What type of care do you prefer? Would you rather let a dog out every day or change a litter box?
  • Do you have any allergies? Obviously, it's best to avoid pets that cause them to flare up.

Remember, always do your research before adopting because even birds can be more complicated than you might think!

Making Your Decision

The bottom line is you need to find a pet with the right personality and activity level to match your lifestyle. An elderly person who needs a quiet companion animal probably wouldn't want a breed of dog that requires lots of obedience training, for example. If you're away from home a lot during the day but still want a furry friend to love, a cat might be a better choice than a dog. If you're still unsure, consider visiting a shelter or a rescue center. Some animal rescue groups will have a questionnaire to make sure your personality is the right fit for the pet you're interested in.

Adopting companion animals is a commitment and a gift. You'll be making a lasting difference in a tiny animal's life, and your new pet will be a blessing to yours too. When you find a great fit, you'll be in for a life of fun, love, and unexpected laughs!

Posted in Family Health

Author and publicist, featured by Business Week, Livestrong, The Nest, and many other publications. Her interests include Science, technology, business, pets, women's lifestyle and Christian living.

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*This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute health care advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or physician before making health care decisions.