Many of us currently have pets or had pets growing up. We have wonderful memories of the pets who touched our lives. We know the companionship and comfort pets bring us. When we say pets some of us think about a cat or dog, others a bird or lizard, and still others a rabbit or hamster. But no matter what shape or size your pet comes in, or how big or small your home is, pets are a vital and deeply loved part of any family they are a part of. So how can we care for our pets? How do our pets care for us? How can Pets be used by us to help us raise amazing, healthy, and resilient children? These are important questions to ask.
First, it is important that we pay attention to the wants and needs of our pets. They are unable to explain when something is wrong so it is up to us to pay attention. If your pet is acting out of character start investigating. If your cat is not using the litter box or using non-litter box places around your house they might have a cat UTI which needs to be treated at a vet. If your dog is scratching much more than usual maybe they are having an issue with fleas or a skin condition. If you notice unexplained changes in behavior, it’s a good time to start investigating. Like many people, pets will often hide that they are feeling unwell, so it’s up to us to stand up, pay attention, and identity when they might be struggling.
The great news is caring for our pets is not one-directional. There have been several reports of the many ways that our pets help us. For example, there are numerous health and wellness benefits that pet owners receive from their pets. Pets increase their owners’ fitness levels. Pets also lower their owner’s stress, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Pets help lower depression and anxiety levels in individuals such as seniors, the sick, and veterans who have experienced trauma. As many of us are working to live lives of wellness, pets are a fun way to reach your health targets.
There are additional benefits specifically for children who grow up with pets. Pets help children with socialization and social-emotional awareness. Children spend time sharing their thoughts and feelings with their pets. Pets are good listeners and they don’t judge no matter what the child says. Pets help improve children’s discipline and increase their levels of responsibility. Children can be put in charge of tasks such as feeding, walking, or cleaning after family pets. On top of these pets can also help children decrease their levels of allergies. With all these benefits why would you not get your child a pet?
In a world that can feel lonely and isolating it is important for us to take advantage of all the ways we can stay connected with ourselves and others. Pets can provide us and our families emotional, mental, and physical benefits. So the next time your spouse or children is giving you puppy dogs eyes because they want a pet you may just want to consider saying yes. Say yes and bring your family and yourself a life filled with wellness. So what pet are you planning to pick up, a puppy, a cat, a bird, a lizard, a hamster?
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