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9 Physical & Mental Benefits of Having Pets

Woman holding a dog

Unconditional love, sweet snuggles, and lots of chuckles are just a few reasons to be thankful for your pet. Your furry friends make you laugh, smile, and even confuse you a little bit. And they always keep you on your toes.

Top Reasons People Are Thankful for Pets

Dogs and cats possess distinct personalities that make them extra special to their pet parents. Maybe your pooch likes to lick your feet, or your kitty loves to give you affectionate head butts. But no matter what unique quirks make your pet endearing, there are plenty of reasons to be thankful for pets.

1. Dogs and Cats Remind You to Live in the Moment

People tend to apply human characteristics and emotions to their pets. So you might joke that your dog still hasn't forgiven you for missing last Thursday's walk. But the truth is, your pup is only thinking about the present moment, not holding a grudge.

Your pet isn't worried about yesterday, and they don't waste time fretting about tomorrow. Pets are a great reminder to stay mindful and embrace the here and now. So cuddle up with your little cutie and savor the moment.

2. Pets Boost Your Mental Well-Being

Studies suggest pets help improve productivity, lower stress, and ease anxious feelings. Pet parents also report their furry companions give them a sense of purpose and make them feel needed. (Like when your cat plops down on your laptop until you fill their food bowl with kibble.)

You also have your pup to thank for dragging you out of bed at 6 a.m. every morning for a neighborhood walk. But there’s no denying that your faithful friend helps boost your mood and gives you the warm fuzzies.

3. Pets Are Excellent Accountability Partners

Speaking of morning walks, pets thrive on routine. Let your dog run with you on your morning jog or join you on a nighttime walk. Do it a few times, and they won’t let you forget it.

They’ll happily remind you with an irresistible puppy-dog gaze or by blatantly dropping their leash on your face. Either way, you’ll have a live-in accountability partner who’s happy to accept belly rubs and treats in return.

4. Dogs and Cats Bring Laughter to Your Life

How many times a day does your furry friend make you laugh? Maybe your cat spent 20 minutes trying to free the trapped feline from the mirror (or trying to plot important cat things with their reflection). Or your dog was so excited to see you that they skidded across the floor like a figure skater fighting off a swarm of bees.

If you're like many pet parents, you probably spend several moments a day giggling at your dog's or cat's antics. It’s time to say thank you to your precious furball because laughter has plenty of benefits. Studies suggest laughter eases tension, improves the immune system, and relieves pain.

5. Pets Are Beneficial for Your Health

In addition to reaping the benefits of laughter, your pets help your health in other ways. Various studies point to the potential role pets play in improving blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, and reducing the risk of stroke.

Other studies suggest that pet owners experience fewer heart attacks or may recover from them more quickly. There is also a possibility that babies who grow up in homes with pets have fewer food allergies.

6. Pets Keep You Company (without the Small Talk)

It's a challenging conundrum when you don't want to be alone, but you're not in the mood for people. Let's face it, sometimes, you simply want to enjoy the quiet and not have to deal with chatting about the weather or the latest TikTok trend. However, you don't like the thought of being entirely on your own, so you're extremely grateful for your pet.

Pets give you the best of both worlds when it comes to enjoying some “me time.” You get the advantages of company without all the small talk. But if you're in a chatty mood, you can chatter away to your heart's content without fear of interruption or judgment. Plus, your dog or cat won't blab your secrets, so you don't need to waste any brain power worrying about what to say or not say.

7. Dogs and Cats Are Proof That There Is Good in the World

Sometimes things going on in the world and around you can make you feel down or discouraged.

But take one look at your pet, and it renews your hope. Watch how others go above and beyond to help a lost kitten find a home or reunite a missing pup with their family. Pets bring out the best in us, and we get to take that heartwarming feeling and pass it on to others.

8. Pets Encourage You to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Do you ever notice how pets are naturally inquisitive? Sure, sometimes, this can be a pain, like when they’re curious about the taste of your slippers. But most of the time, it’s a great reminder to try something new every now and then.

Your dog or cat also becomes an excellent conversation starter. Lots of people have pets, so being a pet parent instantly gives you something in common with plenty of others. Perhaps that cute guy at the park or the new girl at work can’t wait to swap stories about silly pet shenanigans.

9. Pets Let You Bow Out Gracefully

But what about those times when you don’t feel like stepping out of your comfort zone? No problem. Your pets provide an excellent excuse. “Oops, sorry, I can’t make the party, my cat’s on special medication. I have to make sure they get it at a specific time.”

Are coworkers pressuring you to join in for post-work cocktails? “Sorry, my dog’s home alone and has been all day. I really need to get home before they make a mess.” Your pet won't mind one bit if you make them your reason for skipping out on plans. In fact, they'll be thrilled about the extra time with you.

Woman kissing cat

Be Thankful for the Furry Things in Life

Being a pet parent is one of the best things in the world, so you likely already know how lucky you are. But if you wanted even more reasons to be thankful for your pet, now you have a bunch.

Less stress, better health, improved well-being, and being mindful are all things to thank your pet for every day. And if that’s not enough, your fur baby gives you the perfect out when you don’t feel like going to the holiday party or your second cousin’s fourth wedding.

For more reasons to love your furball (as if you didn’t already have a million, right?), check out the rest of the Neater Pets blog. Now, give your pet a squeeze, and tell them thank you for making life so spectacular.


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