Category Archives: Pets

4 Human Foods You Can Safely Share With Your Dog

As a pet owner, you do everything you can to ensure that your four-legged family member lives a long and happy life. That includes feeding them a healthy diet. Your dog would be happy to lap up anything that falls on the floor while you are enjoying a meal, but did you know that many of the foods we humans eat are actually harmful or even toxic to dogs? Here are four human foods you can safely share with your dog the next time they’re begging for your snack.

4 Human Foods Dogs Can Eat

Whole Grains

Whole grains, such as oats, barley, and brown rice, are good for both you and your dog. Cook them so that they are easily digestible and leave them unseasoned to avoid causing digestive issues. So if you make yourself some oatmeal for breakfast in the morning, feel free to make a little extra for your most loyal breakfast companion.

Keep in mind that dogs are carnivores. Grains should make up no more than 7 to 10 percent of their total diet. If you use a commercial dog food, check the grain content to make sure that you aren’t accidentally giving them too much.

Lean Protein

Of course, you already know that dogs love meat. That does not, however, mean that all meat is good for dogs. Fatty cuts like bacon and rib eye should be avoided. Raw or under-cooked meat can be just as bad for dogs as it is for people, so stick to fully cooked meat, cut or ground into small chunks that is easy for them to chew.

Non-red meats like poultry and fish are also great for dogs. Salmon is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep your dog’s coat shiny. Chicken is a good occasional substitute for your usual dog food. Just boil it and add it to some plain white rice for a wholesome dinner your dog will eat right up.

Fresh Vegetables

Vegetables like carrots, broccoli, cucumber, and green beans add crucial fiber and vitamins to your dog’s diet. Serve them raw or lightly steamed with no added oil, salt, or seasonings. If your pooch has trouble chewing big pieces of vegetables, shred or cut them up into smaller chunks. Keep in mind that these are general guidelines and suggestions. Every dog is unique, so keep an eye out for veggies that may lead to tummy trouble.

Peanut Butter

This is one tasty treat you can feel good about giving your dog. A tablespoon of raw, unsalted peanut butter delivers healthy fats and vitamins. A quick warning: be sure to check the label for xylitol, a natural sweetener that’s toxic to dogs.

Now that you know which human foods dogs can eat, it’s also important to know which human foods to keep away from dogs. Beef and chicken bones can splinter, causing serious injury. Chocolate, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, avocados, onions, garlic, yeast dough, artificial sweeteners, coffee, and alcohol are all harmful if ingested. If your dog gets a hold of something dangerous, find a vet right away. If you’re away from home or it’s after regular business hours, Kuddly can help you connect with a veterinarian from anywhere and at any time of the day or night.

By keeping a variety of dog-friendly foods on hand, you can prepare meals that everyone in the house can enjoy — and feel good about slipping your beloved furry friend an occasional treat under the table.

Petco Repeat Delivery Makes Stocking Up on Pet Essentials Easier Than Ever #PetcoDelivers

This blog post is part of a paid Megan Media and Petco Repeat Delivery blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.

There are a number of unspoken rules you come to live by when you have a pet in the family. If you happen to have four cats like I do, they include keeping your cool when you’re abruptly woken up by them running over you during 5 a.m. playtime; adjusting to the early morning breakfast demands that come with bops on your head, whiskers against your nose, or when that doesn’t work, having your eyelids licked (always a fun time!); and the one-sided agreement that you are responsible for doling out pets and cuddles on their schedule, never yours.


And then there’s knowing that you are almost always, without fail, running out of something.

Four cats go through a lot of food and litter, and I can’t tell you the number of times I have gone to scoop a litter box or groggily walked to the kitchen still half-asleep after being woken up by a cat demanding breakfast to find that I was running low or was completely out of the supplies I needed. When you live in a rural area about 20 miles away from the nearest pet supply store, it isn’t always easy or even possible to quickly run out and grab something you need. That is precisely why I was so thrilled to find out about Petco’s Repeat Delivery service, and instantly became a loyal customer.

Petco makes stocking up on pet essentials easier than ever by delivering everything you need to keep your pets happy, healthy, and taken care of right to your front door. You don’t need to go into a Petco store to get started, or even have a Petco near you. Simply navigate their website to shop for your pet’s favorite products, like litter, food, treats, catnip, and more, choose how often you would like your supplies delivered (anywhere between every two weeks to 12 months), check out, and wait for your delivery. Talk about a better system than realizing you’re out of something your pets need last minute and having to drive 20 miles to the nearest store and back!

So Phresh Dual Odor Guard Scoopable Cat Litter

Petco Repeat Delivery

The process is so easy and takes just a few minutes, plus Petco stocks a wide assortment of brands, including specialty brands, so you can rest assured knowing that you will still be able to give your fur babies the very best, which is what we all want for our pets. Repeat Delivery also offers savings that really add up, with discounts of up to 20% off select items and everyday free shipping on purchases of $49 or more.

There are a few exclusions to scoring free shipping — for instance, it doesn’t include cat litter, namely because have you ever had to lug around a bulk-sized box of cat litter? It is heavy! However, by planning our delivery schedule accordingly, it can still be an awesome savings, plus I won’t have to pick up those heavy boxes or pails more than from my front door to the litter box, which is great. And if you realize you need something sooner than the schedule you had originally set your deliveries up for or wanted to put off a shipment, you can do so easily by accessing your Petco account.

Would Petco Repeat Delivery make your life as a pet parent easier?

How Volunteers are Making a Difference for Animal Welfare

(BPT) – When you come home from work, he’s always there to greet you. When you need extra motivation to work out, he’s happy to join for a walk. When you’ve had a bad day, he can sense it and is quick to give you a loving nuzzle. Pets provide endless joy to their families, but for millions of shelter animals, each day is a test of patience in hopes of finding a forever home.

Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter shelters nationwide every year, according to the American Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) statistics. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats. These numbers underscore the massive need for volunteers to provide the necessary care to ensure as many pets as possible can be placed in safe, loving homes.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of any shelter, and it’s a true community effort to keep animals healthy and safe. The Dumb Friends League — Denver’s largest animal shelter dedicated to giving a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves — depended on 1,418 volunteers who donated 211,307 hours of service last fiscal year to help needy animals in Colorado. That’s the equivalent of 101 full-time employees worth $4.7 million in donated time.

This is just one example of the impact volunteers make in the estimated 13,600 shelters nationwide.

In addition to volunteers, support from a variety of businesses and corporations helps keep shelters running strong. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, for example, is one of the largest donors of food to shelters across the country. In fact, Hill’s Food, Shelter & Love® program has provided more than $280 million worth of food to more than 1,000 shelters since its inception in 2002.

Both volunteers and Hill’s share the common goal of transforming the lives of homeless pets. To recognize the vital contribution of shelter volunteers, Hill’s has launched an initiative this year to bring volunteers long overdue recognition. Hill’s has created a contest, Hill’s Shelter Heroes, to recognize the amazing volunteers who continue to go above and beyond in their commitment to shelter pets.

One of the recent winners, Annie Hughes with Wayside Waifs in Kansas City, who has dedicated more than 7,279 hours to her shelter, wanted to express her appreciation to Hill’s for creating a program that “allowed her to share her passion for helping sheltered animals.” Hughes’ submission, along with the rest of the 10 finalists, can be seen at Hill’s Shelter Hero Contest page.

It’s apparent that caring for shelter animals is a group effort, yet one person can make a big difference to help save lives. If you want to change the world for animals in need, here are some tips for becoming a volunteer.

  1. Reach out to local shelters. Call your local animal shelter or rescue group to see if they are accepting volunteers.
  2. Think about your interests and skills. Caring for animals one-on-one is a popular shelter activity, but there are so many more opportunities for volunteers. Whether you’re able to foster in your home, offer professional skills in administration departments, or serve as an adoption counselor to new pet parents, volunteer options are truly endless.
  3. Spread the love. Once you find your volunteer home, spread the love to help pets find homes and encourage friends to volunteer. By sharing posts on social media like the #HillsShelterHeroes contest, hosting fundraising events, and simply bragging about that adorable new pooch to your friends, you’re helping to open everyone’s eyes to the growing need for volunteers at shelters and the importance of pet adoption.

Cat’s Pride Fresh & Light Ultimate Care Litter Simplifies Cleanup in This Multiple Cat Household #ad — Giveaway [Closed]

This post was written as part of a sponsored campaign in participation with One2One Network. All opinions (and cat anecdotes) are my own.

Me and my fiance are the proud pet parents (yes, I’m one of those people) to five delightfully quirky cats. Having a five-cat household was not something we planned or set out to do. Rather, our feline family came together in the same way great authors have described going bankrupt, the throws of depression, and falling in love — slowly, and then all at once.


We adopted our oldest cat, Devin, 9 years ago, just months after my fiance and I moved in together. She was nearing adulthood, her chances of finding a loving forever home slim, and she was mine from the moment I first saw her sitting in a cage by herself and she stuck her paw out at me as I walked by.

Devin can be cantankerous. She has always been the kind of cat that doesn’t want to be bothered unless she comes to you first, and she can go from being tolerant of your attention to lashing out with just a twitch of her tail. But there’s more to her than that, and we saw the true depth of her loving and compassionate nature when we agreed to take in a male kitten a friend of a friend had and could no longer take care of four years later.


We call Devin and Vincent the OG’s of our cat clan. Devin was our first, having been with us throughout the majority of our entire relationship, but we had fully intended on Vincent being the last. While I have always been an animal lover (me and animals have always gotten along easier and better than me and other people) and would gladly take on an animal sanctuary if I had the space and money for it, we agreed that two cats were enough for us, especially because at the time we were apartment living.


Then in the winter of 2012 we bought and moved into our own home. By the summer of 2013, we agreed to take in a kitten a friend of my aunt’s was trying to find a home for. A petite little girl who was the runt of her litter, Sylvia is truly unique. She is a polydactyl, meaning she has a harmless congenital physical abnormality that gives her more than the usual number of toes. She has eight toes on one of her front paws, seven on the other, and five on both of her back paws. She had me at polydactyl.

Sid and Nancy
Sid and Nancy

Just five months after Sylvia came into our lives, in the fall of 2013, we rescued two kittens who were born under the shed in our backyard. I named them Sid and Nancy, yes after the bass player of the Sex Pistols, Sid Vicious, and his tumultuous lover.

I think Sid and Nancy had always been meant to be ours. They were born in our backyard, they took over our entire outside property as their own, and they began sleeping on our back porch every night. They always knew they were already home, they were just waiting for us to realize it.

Slowly, and then all that once. That is how we became a five-cat household.

Cat's Pride Fresh & Light Ultimate Care Litter

While cats bring a tremendous amount of love, joy, and hilarious antics into the lives of their owners, they can also be downright stinky. Yes, I am talking about the litter box.

We have three litter boxes around the house and as you might imagine, controlling litter box odor is no easy task. We have tried multiple different litters from various different brands, and while we have used the same litter for the past couple years, my main complaint has always been that it is so heavy, and doesn’t seem to last as long as I think it should.

For a five-cat household, we go through 40 pounds of cat litter about every two months. Have you ever carried a 40 pound box, or pushed a cart weighing in at over 40 pounds from one side of a warehouse store to the other? Frankly speaking, it sucks.

A couple of weeks ago, Cat’s Pride sent Devin, Vincent, Sylvia, Sid, and Nancy a box full of goodies.

The box arrived on Valentine’s Day, which I thought was appropriate, and included the cutest little white branded coat that exactly none of my cats were amused in being dressed in (but we sure had fun trying!), a new remote-controlled mouse toy, and 12 pounds of the new Cat’s Pride Fresh & Light Ultimate Care Litter.

Cat's Pride box

Cat's Pride Fresh & Light Ultimate Care Litter

Cat’s Pride Fresh & Light Ultimate Care Litter is 50% lighter, making it much easier to carry from one end of a warehouse store to the next, and 99.9% dust free. This is a big deal, as the cloud that can develop over a litter box during and after you’ve filled it with new litter can be seriously irritating to the eyes and nose. Not having to combat dust has been a welcomed relief!

Cat's Pride Fresh & Light Ultimate Care Litter closeup

Formulated for multiple cat households, the Multi-Cat Scoop variety of this litter has really simplified the cat cleanup I do on a daily basis. The lightweight litter contains no fillers and forms into rock hard clumps that are easy to scoop. It is premium scented (though unscented varieties are available) with a pleasant fragrance that isn’t overpowering. It simply neutralizes litter box odor while filling the area with a fresh scent that doesn’t make it obvious that you’re trying to cover up any unwanted smells from three litter boxes.

The motto of Cat’s Pride Fresh & Light Ultimate Care Litter is “Light Done Right!” and after using it these past couple weeks, I couldn’t agree more.

New Cat’s Pride Fresh & Light Ultimate Care Litter is available in scented and non-scented varieties. Head on over to Cat’s Pride to check them out.

Cat’s Pride Fresh & Light Ultimate Care Litter Giveaway

Cat's Pride Fresh & Light Ultimate Care Litter

We have partnered with Cat’s Pride and One2One Network to give one lucky cat lady (or gentleman) a 12lb container of new Cat’s Pride Fresh & Light Ultimate Care Litter.

This giveaway is open to US entrants ages 18+ and will end March 10 at 11:59pm ET.

Cat’s Pride Fresh & Light Ultimate Care Cat Litter

All the Cute: Tiny Hamsters in a Tiny Apartment

Meet Enoki and Bunapi, two Winter White Dwarf hamsters who are living the high life in their very own miniature apartment.

If you think you aren’t a hamster person then let us assure you, you are wrong. You just haven’t seen hamsters relax with a snack in front of the TV, take a dip in a sand-filled bathtub, and nap in their very own sleeping quarters.

hamster in apartment

And if you think tiny hamsters hanging out in a tiny apartment wasn’t cute enough, watch as little Enoki is tucked into a pink and white bed fit for mini royalty, complete with a matching polka dot blanket to keep them warm.

While these videos are undeniably adorable, let us quell some natural questions that arise with videos such as these.

The creator of these “Happy Hammy” videos, Jaieden Ace Shen, has clarified in the comments of both videos that their hamsters absolutely do not live in this “apartment” full-time. Enoki and Bunapi have a natural hamster habitat with proper food, water, bedding, tunnels, exercise toys, and lots of space. They are under no stress when placed in their apartment setting, as is easily seen with how comfortable and well-adjusted they are roaming around and utilizing the amenities.

Meet Our Newest Addition, Sylvia the Polydactyl Kitten


Early this month we became a 3-cat household, affirming the thoughts most of our friends and family have long had about my fiance and I being “cat people.”

This is our Sylvia.

She sleeps on pillows regardless of whether you had planned to rest your head on them. And if your head is taking up a pillow, she will squeeze her way around it.

Sylvia on pillows

She snuggles up to my fiance (whom she very quickly claimed as her primary human) for late-night video game playing.

Sylvia and Allen

With her playful, go with the flow attitude, she was able to quickly win over the other two cats in the family.

The addition of Sylvia to our little fur family was not planned. Rather, much like how our second cat Vincent came into our lives, Sylvia just so happened to fall into the lap of someone we know, and I just so happened to have really good timing.

My aunt has a friend whose cat had a small litter of three kittens. Another friend of hers was on the lookout for a new fur baby, ready to move on after the loss of her family’s cat. My aunt picked up this tiny kitten and brought her home for the night so that she could deliver her to her new forever home the next morning. Then a problem arose. Because of course. My aunt’s friend was only willing to take in a male, and the kitten my aunt had picked up was a female. But there was something truly special about this little girl. She is a polydactyl, so instead of having five toes on each paw, she has six.

Because my grandmother and I had been talking just a week before this all happened about Ernest Hemingway, his house that is now a museum in Key West, Florida, and his love for polydactyl cats, of which he had several and whose descendants still live on the very same property, she immediately called me.

Sylvia crocodile blanket

The kitten could have easily been brought back to the home in which she came, since my aunt had to go back there anyway to pick up the male kitten for her friend, but after hearing that she was a polydactyl and seeing the unbelievably adorable pictures that my aunt had taken of her I just couldn’t let that happen. That same night my fiance and I went to pick her up and she became the newest addition to our little family.

She had me at polydactyl.

As with any new feline addition, it took a few days for our other two cats, Devin and Vincent, to begin to accept Sylvia’s presence in their home. I had expected more push-back from Devin, the alpha female of the house that keeps to herself and does her own thing. She isn’t a big fan of other cats, or people for that matter, but that doesn’t stop us from being big fans of her. She had quickly made sure Vincent knew who was boss when he joined the family, but surprisingly, most of the upset actually came from Vincent, my big baby who still insists on being carried around on my shoulder, who can lay in my lap for hours, and who frequently sleeps on my chest regardless of the fact that he is a good 15 pounds. I found out that he can be pretty jealous. Luckily, he got over that fairly quickly and he and Sylvia have become close buddies. Whenever I see Vincent walk into a room, I know that Sylvia isn’t too far behind. They play together for hours and when they’re done, they fall asleep, never too far away from each other.

Sylvia and Vincent

Just under a month in, Sylvia has settled in with her new-found siblings and has made herself completely at home.

How to Prepare an Emergency Kit for Your Pets

This is a guest post by Jody Cowan of Mom ‘n Daughter Savings, a lifestyle blog dedicated to reviews, giveaways, recipes, and other fun tidbits.

image via serialderecho/Flickr

We have seen our share and then some of harsh and even catastrophic weather this year. Way too many people have lost their homes, everything they owned, and even their lives in the battle against Mother Nature’s wrath, and while it is necessary to mourn what has been lost by the strongest storms we have experienced in recent history, it is just as necessary to learn from it and move forward with our lives cautiously and well-prepared.

If you have pets, it is just as important to make sure that they are prepared for bath weather in case of any necessary evacuations as the rest of your family. In case of a weather emergency, your pets need to have a grab-and-go kit ready.

A lot of shelters do not allow animals, so you need to plan ahead. You could stay in a hotel, but they tend to fill up fast when a storm is approaching. However, you could research ahead of time and make a list of hotels to call in case you need to relocate and make sure that your pet can accompany you. You could also opt to stay with a friend that lives far enough away from the danger lurking in the weather.

In case of an emergency, here is a list of suggested items to have packed for your pet:

  • A collar with ID tag that includes your phone number (with area code) and vaccination tags
  • Leash
  • Carrier or crate large enough for your pet to be able to stand up and turn around
  • Gallons or bottles of sealed water
  • 2-week supply of food stored in a waterproof container
  • Food dishes
  • Heartworm medication or any other medications your pet may be on or need to take, even infrequently, just in case
  • Towels
  • Your pet’s favorite toys
  • Treats
  • Litter, for cats
  • First Aid Kit
  • Plastic bags, newspapers, etc. for animal waste cleanup
  • Pet bed or favorite blanket(s)

These are just my ideas for an emergency kit for your pet. Yours could include anything your pet may need for survival as well as comfort. Comfort is a big deal with animals, and maybe even more important during times of stress, such as during emergency evacuations. If you’re unsure about what else you can add to your pet’s emergency kit, consult your veterinarian.

Tips in this article are intended as suggestions only. I am not a veterinarian, I just have several pets.

Why Cats are Better than Men #infographic

This infographic is way too funny not to share. I had to.

As you may know, our home is ruled with the iron paws of our two cats, Devin and Vincent. They are the best alarm clock known to humans; in fact, I woke up at 5 o’clock this morning solely because of the cats fighting, chasing each other from room-to-room, jumping up on the bed, jumping down, and then jumping right back up again–this time a little closer to my face–and repeat, until it became overwhelmingly apparent that I was not going back to sleep. It is through living with these cats for the past several years that I have officially become a Cat Person.

Not only do my cats wake me up at utterly obscene hours of the morning, but they also make me a much happier person. Everything I put into them, they give back through their affection and quirks, including not taking no for an answer when one of them has decided that they will be napping on your lap, or on your laptop.

With over 32 million cat videos currently uploaded on YouTube, it’s safe to say that most of us can agree cats are great. The infographic below takes it even further, however, outlining all of the ways in which cats are in fact better than men, specifically your ex-boyfriend.

Infographic: Why Cats are Better than Men
Source: Why Cats are Better than Men |

Click image to enlarge in new window

Playtime with Your Dog — Strengthen Your Bond, Train, and Have Fun

dog with ball One of the best things about being a dog owner is all the interaction you get to have with your dog and how much fun you can have together. Your dog is probably a high-energy animal, looking for interaction, affection, and a lot of playtime. Not only is playtime with your dog a wonderful opportunity for you to develop and strengthen the bond you share, but it is also important for your dog’s health, because play is how a dog gets his exercise. Exercise, in turn, can help your dog maintain a healthy weight, preventing obesity, and all of the health problems that come along with it.

There are so many ways to exercise and play with your dog. The basics, of course, include running or jogging with your dog, as well as playing the classic game of fetch. These games can be a little mundane and they may become boring if that is all you do with your dog.

Here are some new games you can incorporate easily into your playtime sessions with your dog or puppy. And remember to use this valuable time to have fun but also train your dog as well.

3 Fun New Games to Play with Your Dog

  1. Obstacle Course: This game is a wonderful way to expend your dog’s energy, strengthen his agility and muscles, and establish you as the leader of the pack. Find a large enough area in your home or in your yard where you can set up an obstacle course by using cones, tunnels, slides, pools, and whatever else you can find and would want to use to challenge your dog. Then, train him using treats and positive reinforcement to follow the track you have set out for him. As he reaches certain points in the obstacle course, you can reward him with a treat and entice him to continue on for more treats, or you can wait until he finishes the entire course. As he learns the course, he will be able to go through it faster every time, and what is great about this game is that you can keep your dog interested and stimulated by changing the obstacles or the layout of the course every now and then, creating a whole new course. The other bonus is that you are the leader and he must follow you.
  2. Hide and Seek: Yes, you can play hide and seek with your dog, but she will need to be trained to sit and wait for you to call her. If your dog is used to laying down and staying, or sitting and staying, command her to do so while you hide somewhere in your home. Then call her to you and she will have to use her senses to find her way to you. When she finds you, reward her with love and a treat. This game will reinforce the commands “sit,” “stay,” and to come when called.
  3. Treat Hide and Seek: Similar to hide and seek, this game replaces you with treats that the dog must find hidden around the house. Again, the dog should be trained to sit and wait until you command him to go and find the treat, at which point the challenge is to use the senses of sight and smell to locate the prize. This game, like hide and seek, reinforces important training commands and allows the dog to exercise not only his body, but also his mind. It is similar to dog toys that have hidden treats inside them that the dog must somehow get to, but this game does not require you to purchase expensive dog toys only to have them destroyed when he finally gets the treat out.

These games aren’t just fun for you and your dog, they are opportunities for training while also having a blast, or just reinforcing the commands and good behavior they already know. Also great for training your dog are Pet Dreams cratewear.

Photo by jjgwarren/Flickr

Pets and Your Health: 5 Ways Pets Can Make a Difference

elderly woman with dog

Most devoted pet owners know that pets make life better. They provide companionship, play, and love. But scientists have recently turned their attention to the science of pet ownership, and are discovering that the benefits of pet ownership go much deeper than fun and affection. Pets offer a sense of connection with others, the opportunity to pursue new friendships, and a shot at more happiness. Pets and your health are truly related, and here’s how:

  1. An Active Mind and Body

    No one denies that pets can be challenging. From daily training sessions to struggling to find the best dog bed crate, pets keep their owner’s minds active. People who experience daily intellectual challenges are less likely to suffer from depression, and there’s some evidence that an active mind can help stave off Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. This is why pets are increasingly being used as visitors in nursing homes and hospitals.

    Keeping active is also a benefit in its own right. Your dog may provide you with the incentive you need to get up off the couch and go for a walk. Thus dog owners may experience lower blood pressure, decreased risk of obesity, and improved overall health.

  2. Increased Immunity

    Happy people have better immune systems and are less likely to develop certain illnesses. Pet ownership can improve overall life satisfaction and reduce the incidence of mental illnesses such as depression that can cause a weakened immune system. Even the simple act of petting an animal for a few minutes stimulates white blood cell production and improves circulation, greatly improving overall health.

  3. Emotional Security

    Pets provide hours of love and affection to their owners. While this can seem like a trivial benefit, it can be a matter of life and death for some people. A sense of emotional security can greatly reduce a person’s risk of developing some mental illnesses. Depressed patients who own pets suffer fewer suicidal feelings, and their sense of obligation to their pets can give them a strong incentive to work on getting better. The love that pets provide is also greatly beneficial to isolated people, particularly the elderly.

  4. Opportunities for Connection

    Pets need exercise, playtime, and friends. For people who have difficulty making friends, a pet can give them the push they need to get out and meet people. Dogs and cats are great conversation-starters, and can be powerful tools for people who suffer from loneliness, shyness, and social anxiety. Pet ownership can also help raise people’s self esteem, empowering them to reach out to others and foster and develop friendships.

    Friendship and belonging to a community are strong predictors of both emotional and physical health. Dogs greatly increase a person’s ability to and likelihood of making friends, and can therefore greatly improve their owners’ quality of life and overall health.

  5. Life-Saving Advantages

    For some people, a pet can be a true life-saver. Dogs have much stronger senses of small and hearing than people, and these sensory powers can offer several advantages to owners.

    Trained dogs can detect a seizure or panic attack before it happens, and can intervene to prevent their owner from experiencing a dangerous loss of consciousness. Therapy and guide dogs can help pull their owners out of isolation and guide them through the world. But dogs don’t have to be trained service dogs to fulfill unique functions. Your dog senses your emotions and may intervene to comfort and calm you even before you know you’re upset! Some dogs even recognize that their owners are pregnant before the pregnancy test reads positive.

Photo by jjgwarren/Flickr