How a pet makes you happy


Studies have shown that people who have a cat or a pup are less lonely.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

A pet acquired for the right reasons will improve your happiness index. This is despite spending more on food, attention like everyday walks, litter changes, and vet bills.

Having a pet, especially in a pandemic, helps deal with the loneliness that comes from working from home and the minimised interactions due to wave after wave of Covid-19 that has been striking us. Even without a pandemic, a pet affects our well-being.

Studies have shown that people who have a cat or a pup are less lonely, have higher self-esteem, are less fearful and are in a better physical shape. This can mainly be attributed to daily walks by dog owners. People walking their dogs report attracting more attention than alone, hence the improved self-esteem and better physical shape.

Whether pets cause happiness, several pet owners report deriving joy and feeling healthier from playing, talking and walking their pets. This could be attributed to the love hormone oxytocin, which science shows is produced by both the pet and their owners when they interact.

The research shows that dogs produce a higher amount of oxytocin when interacting with their owners than cats. The dog truly adores you compared to the cat, which accepts your presence.

Choose a pet that suits you

So to enhance your happiness, choose a pet that suits you. You may not be in a position to sustain a dog from playing with it, feeding it and taking it for its vaccination and therefore, you might derive a lot more happiness from having a nice beautiful goldfish. Not only is it low maintenance, but it is also a décor item and very fascinating to stare at.

The size of a pet can also make or break you. Big dogs require larger compounds to play in; you may want to have a strong and well-grounded fence as most claw under the fence and roam out. Their barks are also louder and so can cause friction with your neighbours. Bigger dogs also require more of everything, from food to medicine dosage to flea drugs to the space they sleep in.

To enhance your happiness, consider your motive when picking a pet. Don’t follow a fad to look cute or because everyone is getting a dog or a cat. The feeling will soon fade if you do not have a genuine love for a pet. Their work will overwhelm you and take away all your joy.

Also, think ahead. When the pandemic is over, and you have to travel for work, will it pose a hardship for you? If your contract ends and you have to move countries, are you ready to pay for their shipment, or you will leave your pet heartbroken?

Getting a pet could be one of the best life decisions for you. Only make sure you get the right one for the right reasons.

Maryanne is a pet owner. [email protected]