Benefits of Owning a Pet


Jalina Paljusaj, Staff Writer/ Media production

Did you know that there are a number of benefits from snuggling your animal? Pets, especially cats and dogs, can reduce the stress, anxiety, and depression of their owner. Just their presence alone is able to ease the loneliness and nervous feelings. Of course, they also bring joy and unconditional love. The immediate joys of having a companion pet will result in long-term benefits. 

According to the 2021-2022 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, 70% of American households own pets. This means over half of the population here has a family companion. The statistic is large because of the joy animals bring to most people. 

Interacting with animals has shown signs of decreasing someone’s level of cortisol. This is a hormone directly related to stress. It encourages oxytocin which is another chemical in the body that reduces stress naturally. 

The majority of households that have pets are dog owners. Dogs and humans are known to share a special support bond which is why they are the most common companion. 

Dogs are in tune with human emotions and behavior. They are able to combine hearing and sight to match happy and angry human faces with happy and angry vocalizations. Dogs have the ability to distinguish the positive sounds of laughing from the negative sounds of crying. 

An example of lowering cortisol levels would be petting a cat. The petting of a cat stimulates this hormone and soothes its owner. 

Olivia Gallagher, a senior, shares “Whenever my cat lays on my stomach, I match my breathing with her purring and it helps calm me down.”

Common pets like dogs and cats are not all that is applicable. Pets like snakes and lizards are also beneficial. They can do almost the same when it comes to lowering stress levels but are just more low maintenance. Owners of reptiles don’t have the responsibility of making sure to walk their pets or worry about it during the work/school day. Instead, they can rely on the fact that they are able to stay alone for long periods of time.

Jocelyn Wilson, a sophomore, shares her experience owning a snake.

“I wanted a pet that was different. My mom was scared of them and now that I have one, she is not afraid of them anymore.”

While there are many benefits to owning a pet, there are also downsides that are what turn off the majority of non-pet owners to making the decision. To own a pet you must be willing to put in the time and effort you would put in as if it were your child. People often fail to recognize the responsibility of taking care of a household pet. It requires being fed, walking or changing its living area, and paying for vet appointments and various necessities.