The Risks and the Benefits of Pets

Pet Ownership: The Risks and the Benefits

Pets are a wonderful addition to the family but becoming a pet owner comes with both risks and benefits. It's important to weigh these risks and benefits of owning a pet before committing to adopting one. Considering these risks and benefits is important to both your family and the companion animal in question.


We don't like to imagine there being a single downside to owning a lovable little furball, well better yet, inducting them as a member of your family. Unfortunately, there are a few key points that need to be considered before taking such a leap. Considerations such as allergies that anyone in your household may have, any medical considerations that involve mindful hygiene, and even the age of those in your household.


Allergies are a tough one, especially when the person who has allergies is an animal lover and would love to adopt a cat or dog. Sometimes allergies can be managed with certain medications, but unfortunately, that isn't always the case.

Sanitary Considerations

Animals are animals, and that’s just the fact of the matter. Even if you bathe them several times a week, there is still always the risk for transmission of potentially harmful bacteria. This isn’t usually a major concern but could be if one of the members of your household is immunocompromised.

Injury Risk

When considering adopting a new pet, it’s wise to consider whether they will pose a safety risk to any elderly family members in the house. Older family members often have trouble seeing or getting around the house. Having a small animal increases the chances of your elderly family member tripping and falling, as they may not see the animal sleeping on the floor or the animal may accidentally get under their feet while they are walking.


Now to switch gears to the parts about adopting a new pet that we all love to hear about. Adopting a new pet comes with life-changing benefits such as stress relief, a new pal to keep you company, and even increased physical activity.

Stress relief

There’s nothing more therapeutic than laying back on your couch and stroking the fur of your feline companion who’s laying on the cushion next to you, purring away. Or coming home after a long day at work to your dog who’s beyond excited to have you home after a long day away. Many studies have proven that having a pet can dramatically lower stress levels. This is why some people have service animals just for the fact of aiding them in relieving stress during stress-inducing situations.


Not all dogs are made to be protectors of the household. Some are made with such an instinct, which will make going to bed at night that much more relaxing. On the other hand, there are some dogs out there who want nothing more than to just be friends with any person who enters the home. Either way, a benefit is coming out of adopting a pet as a new member of the family. The right dog will make a person feel safe at night and as though they always have a friend nearby at all other times. Cats serve as excellent companions as well. Cats either want to be left alone or completely involved in whatever it is you're up to. Making dogs and cats both, excellent family members to have.

Increased activity levels

Having a dog means almost a guaranteed increase in activity levels. Having a dog means taking them for walks so that they can get exercise every day. That, or you’ll find yourself in the backyard playing fetch or running around with your new canine companion. Cats often tend to be playful by nature, making them just as great of a source of physical activity. Whether you’re throwing around a little toy that your cat likes to chase, or waving around a colorful feather on a stick, you’ll be engaging in much more physical activity than you may be used to after adopting a new pet.

We call dogs “man’s best friend.” Dogs and cats alike make some of the best companions. Not only does pet ownership provide emotional benefits, but owning a pet offers physical benefits, too. Dogs and cats have a special bond with humans. However, the special relationship you may share between an animal should not be the one thing to consider when deciding to own a pet. Let’s mull over a few risks as well as benefits to pet ownership.


Love and Companionship

It is always a warm feeling that comes from feeling secure and attached to an animal. Medically, we are at our best when we feel love. Dogs and cats give their owners unconditional love that makes them feel their best inside and out. A pet can accept you and becomes attached to you, so the relationship works both ways. The feeling humans tend to get is a feeling of purpose and to feel validated. It feels fantastic when you come home to someone excited to see you.

The physiological benefits of owning a pet are a plus, too. Having a warm and loving pet makes stress responses reduced can lower your blood pressure, and lower your anxiety levels. That is why it is fashionable to own an emotional support pet. Oxytocin is boosted for both the pet and their owner, which are those “good feeling” chemicals. Experts also say that oxytocin plays a role in social bonding, as well.

Caring for and owning a pet can be beneficial to your physical help because of the exercise involved. You are bound to play with your animal and take them on a walk, which could be socially beneficial as well.


As loving and tender owning and caring for a pet can be, there are also health hazards pet ownership can also pose a risk for. Older adults may have trouble as some pets may be required to be carried. A pet can also go under feet or knock someone over. The risk of having a fall is increased when the pet owner or household member is elderly. Animals also pose sanitary risks. Animals sometimes carry parasites, which are easily transferred to their human companions. People who have weak immune systems can be at risk from a parasite, transmitted by cats, toxoplasmosis. There are also bacteria in animal feces that can make humans sick. Finally, it is common for pet owners and guests to have allergic reactions to animals. It’s best to consider these risks before adopting your pet.

Considerations You Can Make

Before deciding to adopt your pet, make sure you and your household are physically and mentally capable of caring for them. It is the pet owner who is responsible for feeding, exercise, and cleaning the animal. Having the energy and strength to care for a pet is one other consideration before choosing a specific animal. Consider the size and energy level and what you can realistically handle. Do you leave the house for long periods? Remember that time is a crucial consideration for owning a pet. If you are not around and do not have help, your pet may get lonely. Most importantly, remember that pet ownership is a financial commitment. Expect to pay at least $500 year on a pet. Some emergencies arise, so you have to be financially stable enough to pay for it. If you’ve considered all the benefits and risks to pet ownership, then you are ready to make a decision.


Just like with any other large life decision, some pros and cons need to be weighed. Adopting a pet companion may not sound like a huge deal that needs to be thought about for long, but there are a lot of considerations that need to be made before you head to the shelter. Will a pet cause any discomfort or pose a danger for anyone living in the household? Otherwise, many great benefits come from adopting a new pet into the family. 

How does having a pet benefit you?

Having a pet can help you become a healthier and better person. Nothing's better than coming home to a loyal furry friend that showers you with unconditional love. Pets will teach you to be responsible, kind, compassionate, and loving among other things.

Are there health benefits of owning pets?

Pets help you keep in shape by giving you opportunities to be more active. Simple things like walking your dog and cleaning after them can help decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Your chances of getting stress-related illnesses is also greatly reduced, thanks to your furry companion.

What are some pros and cons of pet ownership?

Pets help improve your mental and physical health and will let you experience increased joy and love. Unfortunately, they may also come with drawbacks and some of these include allergies, possible safety hazards, and veterinary costs.

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Written by Leo Roux

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