The Health Benefits of Owning a Pet

Over two-thirds of households in the US own pets, up from just over half of households. When considering pet ownership, it is easy to see just how much joy pets can bring to our lives. Here are a few health benefits of owning pets.

Our Pets Give Us Skills

Many first-time pet owners often quickly realize that a pet makes you learn, often as you go. You realize that the new creature in your life requires feeding, training, and playtime, added responsibility that could disrupt previous habits. As such, pet owners refine personal skills like schedule management and self-discipline so that Fido gets to go potty at a regular time. Many parents use pet ownership to encourage responsibility and empathy in their children, which are vital in later life.

Our Pets Help Us Socialize

Both online and offline, the pet owner community is incredibly friendly– discussion forums are aplenty, and you’ll often find that people are more likely to strike up a conversation if you walk your dog around the neighborhood. Having a pet is a conversation-starter, especially if you struggle with small talk. Many pet owners find that they bond far more easily over these shared experiences, whether it is through documenting their pets’ daily antics for their internet friends or showing off their furry (or scaly) companions in person at local animal-friendly spaces.

Our Pets Reduce Our Stress

As we all know, modern life is getting progressively more stressful, and higher levels of anxiety can lead to many health problems. Our furry friends, luckily, can help to mitigate some of that. Scientific studies have shown that pet owners tend to have lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels when compared to people who don’t own pets. These lower levels then equate to a decreased likelihood of health issues, like heart attacks. Having a bond with our animal companions hence might thus have a positive impact on our mental and physical health. 

Our Pets Make Us Exercise

As mentioned previously, owning a pet could improve our mental health, which indirectly influences our physical health. What if I told you that pets could help us make lifestyle choices to further improve our wellbeing? Interestingly, pet owners average more hours of physical activity than those without animal companions, likely due to the increased amount of time spent on playing with them. While cat owners may not be taking their felines on walks very often, reports of more frequent workouts and physical activity are often recorded. Some pet lovers even go the distance and incorporate their furry friends into workout routines and yoga memberships, keeping physical with their pets in close proximity! 

Our Pets Keep Us Happy

And finally, there is no denying that our pets help us feel less alone. In today’s busy world, there is undeniably a decreased focus on in-person socialization, which can be very isolating. Coming home to an animal companion can be comforting, and a welcoming snuggle on the couch could be just what it takes to keep your mind off the crazy world outside. Some dogs can even double as home security, protecting your property or your person when you’re out for a run, and this sense of safety can be crucial to enhancing our quality of life.

No matter the justification you need, pet ownership can contribute to a healthy and happy life -- so go rescue a furry friend today!

Here in the Portland, Oregon area, we highly recommend rescuing a pet from the following organizations:

Dog + Cat Rescues:



Small Mammals: