Pets: Friends with benefits

Perhaps you can’t make up your mind about which pet would be appropriate. Well, here are a few pointers that may help you decide.


Have you been contemplating getting home some pets but are not sure? Well, here are a few pointers that may help you decide.

Great companions

With a pet at home, you can never feel lonely. Moreover, animals love unconditionally, unlike many human companions. Because they are not judgemental or critical, you can be yourself around them. They are great listeners and tend to show great compassion towards their masters.

New friends

As a pet owner, you could find many opportunities to meet like-minded people who also love animals. You can meet new friends and discuss your pets at dog training classes, while walking your pet in the park or waiting at the veterinarian’s.

Lessons for children

If you have children at home, it might be a great idea to bring home a pet. From pets, children learn to be responsible by caring for them. And when pets fall sick, they tend to them with great care, in the process learning to love not just people but also members of the animal world. And when these pets die, they learn the idea of death and loss.

Respect for life

So wonderful will be your experience with a pet that often you and your kids learn to be respectful of, and compassionate towards, all living beings. Research evens suggests that children with pets at home are more selfless than their counterparts without one.

Also read » Pals in parenting

Weight loss

Since dogs need to be walked daily, they are a wonderful excuse to go for that daily walk you so badly need. Besides, walking your pet helps to improve your stamina and overall fitness levels. According to one study, having a dog to walk actually encourages regular exercise with 60 per cent of pet owners saying they always go for a walk with their dog—even when time is precious. Another study found that by walking their dogs for 20 minutes a day, five days a week, owners lost about seven kilos a year! Other pet-related activities like bathing, cleaning, playing and feeding them are also calorie burners and help you to stay active.

Family bond

Being apolitical, a pet promotes closer bonds between all family members. Indeed, families with a pet are happier with each other and also more close-knit.

blankSafety and security

Once you bring a canine pet home, they are the un-appointed guards of your home and your family. They assume that position with ease and their loyalty is a priceless asset.

Purpose for elders

Looking after a pet can add meaning to the lives of the elders. To take the effort to look after a pet or walk it regularly, gives them a feeling of purpose and fulfilment.

A nice hobby

If you train your pet to do tricks and care for it, it could be a great hobby to have. This is particularly true if you have a show animal as a pet.

Also read » Pet Therapy


Just spending time with pets eases stress levels and increases your life-span.

General good health

The companionship of a pet is known to regulate high blood pressure and heart rate and reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Kids with pets develop tolerance for allergies and asthma. It is well established that watching the rhythmic movements of fish calms the nerves and helps lower blood pressure too.

Read this before getting a pet


  • Evaluate the financial implications and time that you can invest in caring for the pet. Note that different animals have different needs and expenses.
  • Make sure you take into account the basics such as professional medical care, quality food, and appropriate habitat.
  • Besides dogs and cats, small animals like guinea pigs, rabbits, turtles, goldfish and parrots are economical and require low maintenance.
  • Caution: If you’re eyeing exotic animals, be warned that according to The Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, it is illegal to keep as pet any animal, reptile or bird that is found in the wild. However, exotic animals or birds of foreign origin like macaws can be kept.
  • Primates, venomous snakes, and large cats among others, are the most dangerous kind of animals for domestication.
  • Certain breeds of dogs like Pugs and Chihuahuas cannot adjust to the Indian climate; hence keeping them as pets is best avoided.

This article first appeared in the February 2013 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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Mithi Chinoy is a widely experienced writer and has written not only for newspapers and magazines but has spent nine years as an advertising copywriter. Today, with 25 years in the writing field, she is a freelance writer of articles, ebooks and web copy.