Which pet is most suitable for you?

Social Benefits
Pets break down communication barriers and act as 'social lubricants'. Not only are they great companions for the owner – but 81% of owners say they never feel alone when they are with their pet - but they also encourage walking and getting out into the fresh air to explore parks and local areas. Pets also provide increased interaction with neighbours or strangers. A study by the University of Western Australia’s School of Population Health found that over 50% of dog owners and 40% of pet owners meet people in their neighbourhood as a result of their pet. Did you know? A whopping 80% of dog owners talk to other people when out walking their dogs? 

Health Benefits
One of the major benefits of owning a pet, particularly a cat or dog, is the positive effects they have on heart health. Studies have shown that pet owners are less likely to pass away in the 12 months following a heart attack than non-pet owners. Owning a pet also results in lower risk of heart disease, such as lower blood pressure and cholesterol and studies have shown a 4% reduction in heart disease.  

Research shows that dog and cat owners make fewer annual visits to the doctor and spend less time overall in hospital. The companionship of pets results in reduced levels of mental stress and lower levels of depression (so, a happy pet usually means a much happier owner). While 79% of pet owners find it comforting to be with their pet when things go wrong, and those with a strong attachment to their pet tend to experience less depression when losing a spouse.

It has even been shown that pets can help you look better as they encourage increased physical exercise. Our furry or feathered friends encourage increased mental functioning by allowing us to simply talk to them and care for them. Pets are particularly significant for those who live in a nursing home as they can lead to reduced tension, confusion and depression and  increased feelings of enthusiasm, interest and inspiration. It is all good news!

For even more inspiring information about how a pet can enhance your life read this article on Top 5 reasons pets keep you happy and healthy.

Top dogs
There is a reason dogs are regularly referred to as a man’s best friend – dogs are active and loyal compadres who provide entertainment, comfort, purpose and of course all of those fantastic social and health benefits. Here are the top five dog breeds to consider:  

Poodle - low-shedding, hypoallergenic dogs, making them suitable for people sensitive to dog hair. Poodles are also personable, clean and easy to train. 


Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – these adorable pups have low energy and are (usually) nice and quiet. They are a sweet and loyal companion dog, with just the right balance of playfulness and eagerness. 


Miniature Schnauzers – this is a very small and companionable breed that truly acts as a man’s (or woman’s) best friend. They are hypoallergenic, easy to train and above all are gentle, kind and obedient. 


Shih Tzus – be aware these dogs require a high level of attention, but minimal levels of exercise, making them the ideal choice for those of us who prefer the quiet life. They are small, need infrequent grooming and are usually happy simply playing around the house and enjoying the company of their owners. 


Bolognese dogs - are the ideal companion. They are intelligent, devoted and love to be at their family’s side. Added to this they are highly attentive and always attuned to their owner’s needs.  


Top cats
Cats are often less active than dogs and love lazing around the home. They make great companions, particularly for those who want a pet with whom they can curl up while on the couch. 

Russian blue – this breed of cat is quiet and loving and tends to stay close to its owners. They get on well with people, children and other pets.


Birman –  known to be affectionate, gentle and intelligent. They are also playful and tend to share a close bond with their owners. 


Ragdoll – these are loving and laid-back cats and are very interested in humans. Don’t be surprised if your Ragdoll greets you at the door, follows you round and curl up against you when you sleep.  


Persian – Persians are regal cats that require daily grooming. They have a gentle temper, are highly affectionate and bond well with humans and other cats. 


British shorthair – more independent than other breeds, but their short hair makes them easy to groom. 

Shutterstock _73585339

Burmilla - these kitties are a little more fun and entertaining, so are naturally more suited to couples or individuals wanting a bit more excitement and playfulness.   


Best (other) pets
The advantages of companionship and inciting a more active, purposeful lifestyle also extend to other animals such as:

Cockatiels and budgies – small parrots are responsive and entertaining pets. Be sure to train them to ride your finger and be careful with open doors and windows before letting them out of their cage. 

Fish – freshwater fish are less maintenance and cheaper than their marine counterparts. A tank filled with these marine critters is affordable and easy to maintain once established. Although not as tactile as other pets, they still provide entertainment and have a shorter lifespan for those not wanting to make a long-term investment in pet owning. 

Mice and rats – these animals make for cheap and easy pets. However, owners must be sure to keep the enclosure clean and housed in a room where people don’t sleep, as sleeping too close to these animals can promote allergic reactions.

To reap the many benefits that pets bring to your life, contact your local pet store or animal shelter. Consider the possibilities of adopting older pets (as they are less energetic and often already trained) or looking into temporary adoption options. Ensure you are open about what you want from an animal companion with whoever you are consulting and have fun choosing your next furry, feathered or scaled friend.

Do you have a pet? How do you find having a pet helps you be happier and healthier? Join in the conversation below…