Should I get a pet? How owning a pet can improve your life

If you’re thinking about getting a pet but you’re not sure, we break down some of the benefits to help make your decision easier.

Written by Editor Medibank
Puppy and kitten sharing their food bowl

Having pets can improve your mental health

Getting a pet is a great way to boost your mental health and reduce feelings of loneliness. The pet and owner dynamic can make you feel connected and loved, which in turn reduces stress and anxiety.

Here are some clear mental health benefits of getting a pet:

1. Improve your mood with your pet

Your cat or dog is impartial to the drama of your daily life; instead they provide you with loyalty and acceptance so that you feel comfortable just being yourself. And of course, cuddles help!

2. Pets can reduce your stress

Pets create routine, are faithful companions and can help ease anxiety. Pets are the perfect partners, providing you with support when navigating day-to-day challenges - spending time with your pet could even reduce your blood pressure.

3. Having a pet helps people socialise

It may seem odd but having a pet can bring people together! You’ll find new friends at the park and can create a network of pet owning pals to share tips and tricks.

If you’ve moved out of home for the first time, just gone through a break-up or are feeling lonely, getting a new puppy or kitten could be a great way to lift your mood with their companionship and affection. Kids also respond very well to pets, and having a furry friend can help them through some of the challenges of growing up. Research from the University of Edinburgh and the Scottish SPCA   even revealed that children are ‘more likely’ to confide in their pet than their siblings when faced with adversity.

A happy pet owner smiles are her kitten

Surprising health benefits that come with a pet

Getting an adorable and energetic new puppy is a great way to kickstart your health goals and help you focus on fitness. Puppies and dogs require daily walks and are a great incentive to keep you moving.

And that’s just one of the pluses! Here are some more surprising health benefits that come from owning a pet:

1. Pets could lower your blood pressure

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the US found that patients experience lower blood pressure when they are close to a dog. 

2. Pets could lower your cholesterol levels

According to the CDC pets can lower your cholesterol levels while also encouraging healthy lifestyle choices. Pets facilitate balance and routine, motivating owners to be more active, all of which helps to reduce blood pressure and keep your heart healthy and happy.

3. Having a pet could help prevent strokes

Cat owners also gain health benefits, with studies showing that female cat owners can be 40 per cent less likely to experience a cardiovascular incident like a stroke. 

A dog could also be the extra help you need if you have a medical condition. Although strictly speaking they are far more than pets, specially-trained medical alert dogs can detect changes in blood sugar levels, and there’s also ongoing research into dogs’ ability to recognise epilepsy.

But even without all these health benefits most pet owners agree: spending time with your pet can be an important part of a healthy lifestyle. 

Two small children play with their puppy on the floor

Learn responsibility through your pet

Owning a pet is a great way to learn responsibility. Pets are dependent on you for their health and wellbeing and when you bring a pet into your home, you are learning how to provide for them, care for them, help maintain their health and even help protect them with pet insurance. Looking after a pet is also a great way to teach your children responsibility, too, through regular feeding times, walks, cleaning litter trays, providing fresh drinking water, and pooper-scoopering the backyard – even if they whinge and whine all the way through it!

While pets are undoubtedly a commitment, getting one can improve your life and help you become the best version of yourself.

Looking for Pet Insurance? 

Get peace of mind with Medibank Pet Insurance. Plus, health members save 10%.

Important things you should know

Medibank Pet Insurance is issued by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd ABN 78 090 584 473, AFSL 241436, is arranged and administered by PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd ABN 95 075 949 923, AFSL 420183 (PetSure) and is promoted and distributed by PetSure’s Authorised Representative (AR) Medibank Private Limited ABN 47 080 890 259, AR 286089. Terms, conditions, waiting periods and exclusions apply. Any advice provided is general only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Please consider the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to ensure this product meets your needs before purchasing. PDS and Target Market Determination available at medibank.com.au/pet-insurance

Written by Editor Medibank

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