Health & Wellness


Caring for a pet can have a profound impact on your mental and physical health. Domestic animals provide love and companionship, encourage activity, and can help ease stress, anxiety, and depression. They can also bring joy to even the darkest day.

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Pets FAQs

What are good pets for kids?
When choosing a good pet for your child, you’ll want to consider factors such as the level of required care, household space, the time you have available, and your child’s personality. If space is limited, fish or a small caged animal, such as a guinea pig or hamster, could be a good choice. If your child is very active, they may prefer a dog to play with. However, a dog is also a major commitment that will require a lot of care and attention, including regular walks, grooming, and vet care. Most cats require a little less attention and can be left alone for longer than a dog. Ultimately, a good pet for kids is one that fits in with your family lifestyle. If you’re in doubt about caring for a larger animal, start with a smaller, caged animal and go from there.
What is an emotional support animal?
An emotional support animal is one that can help you manage symptoms of a mental health issue, such as anxiety or depression. These types of pets offer calming support, nonjudgmental companionship, and a source of joy that can boost your mood and improve your emotional well-being. Caring for an emotional support animal, especially a dog or cat, can also help to ease loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness, and even add a sense of meaning and purpose to your life.
What is animal therapy?
Animal therapy involves guided, interactive sessions with specially trained animals in order to better manage physical or mental health problems. During an animal therapy session, you’re invited to pet, stroke, or otherwise interact with the animal, which can improve your mood and well-being. Different animals—such as cats, dogs, and horses—can have different benefits. Riding a horse, for example, can be especially useful for improving physical balance, whereas interacting with a dog can lower blood pressure, ease anxiety, and reduce stress and loneliness. Studies show that animal therapy can also benefit cardiovascular health as well as improve mental health.
What’s the best dog breed for me?
To determine the best dog breed—or mixed breed—for you, consider your lifestyle and factors such as the dog’s size, temperament, energy levels, and how much shedding you can tolerate. Smaller rather than larger breeds may be more suitable for homes with limited space, young children, or aging relatives who could be easily knocked down by a large dog. Quieter breeds, such as French Bulldogs, might be best if you live in an apartment or are sensitive to loud barking. While all dogs require exercise, some have more energy than others and will need longer, more frequent walks. Long-haired dog breeds, such as Golden Retrievers, tend to shed a lot and need more grooming than a breed such as Boxers, for example. If you’re unsure about the best dog for you, consult with local rescue groups. Volunteers usually take care of the dogs until they can find a permanent home, which means they’re often very familiar with the animal’s personality and can help you decide if the dog is a good match for you.
How do I deal with the loss of a pet?
Losing a beloved pet can be devastating. It can be especially painful when other people try to diminish your loss or suggest that grief for a pet somehow isn’t appropriate. Ignore those who aren’t able to appreciate the love, joy, and companionship that a pet provides, and don’t try to rush the grieving process. Share your feelings with loved ones who appreciate your loss. It can also help to take time to celebrate your pet’s life and the love you shared. You could create a scrapbook of photos of your pet as a lasting memorial, or make a donation in your pet’s name to an animal charity or local rescue group. Read: Coping with Losing a Pet.