(Family Features) While pet owners are responsible for taking care of their four-legged friends, they don’t always stop to think about how their pets take care of them in return. From their unconditional love to their ability to combat loneliness and teach empathy, pets provide physical, mental and emotional benefits that can help their owners be better people.
“We know that pets make our lives better,” said Mark Johnson, President of Mars Petcare North America. “They provide joy and companionship for people of all ages, help keep their owners active and can even contribute to a more dynamic social life. We created the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program, which advocates for fewer pets in shelters and more public places where pets are welcome, so more pets and their owners can live happier, healthier lives together.”
Consider these ways pets can make their owners’ lives better, and visit BetterCitiesForPets.com to learn more about the benefits of pets and how pet owners can return the favor to their four-legged friends.
- Providing Companionship – Pets love unconditionally. No matter what, dogs are excited to see their owners and never try to hide their happy, wagging tails. The companionship of a pet can be especially beneficial as pet owners age. Pets can motivate their aging owners to stay mobile, help them feel needed and provide structure to their daily lives.
- Teaching Responsibility – Pets depend on their owners to provide food, shelter and care. Adding a dog or cat to the family can bring a sense of responsibility to its owners, especially children in the house. Every pet is special in his or her own way, so children can learn about how to be gentle with animals, respect boundaries and understand empathy and responsibility. Adopting a pet can also teach children about helping those in need and giving back.
- Increasing Socialization – Whether it’s on a walk or at the dog park, furry friends are almost always up for meeting new four- and two-legged friends, which can help their owners be more social as well. Pets have the ability to bring people together, and their openness and instinctive curiosity can teach pet owners to open their hearts to make lasting friendships with others. In fact, a study from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition found that kids that grow up with pets tend to have greater self-esteem, enhanced social skills and are less lonely.
- Enjoying the Moment – When pets chase their favorite toys, they’re usually stress-free and living in the moment. People, however, can sometimes move too quickly and forget to celebrate small joyful moments. Pets are known to help reduce stress and can serve as a reminder to stop and smell the roses (sometimes literally).
Photos courtesy of Fotolia