Right now as I type, my cat Loki is perched on my lap. Standing tall on his haunches, he looks like a strange, golden-eyed meerkat, and he’s licking my face with his sandpaper tongue.

Honest.

It’s kind of scratchy and has a faint aroma of cat food, but I don’t mind so much.  He basically does whatever he wants whenever he wants, probably because he’s a cat.  The thing is, when he snuggles up next to me in the evening with his little kitty motor going full throttle, that right there is a sense of peace and contentment that’s hard to match.  I’d actually be willing to stick my neck out and say it’s better than chocolate.  Or icecream. Or even chocolate icecream…  Sometimes, I squish his little squishy cat face right up beside my ear, as if listening for the sound of the ocean in a seashell.  It’s calming. And science agrees with me.

For those of us that like animals, pets have incredible benefits.

Pets Make Life Better

Loki loves to smooch. And sometimes bite…

This point was really driven home for me last week when I thought maybe I was going to lose my best friend of 13 years (a story for another day).  She’s really clever and fun, always up for a crazy adventure.  And she’s always there for me when I need a shoulder to cry on.  When I’m feeling lazy and thinking about crashing on the couch with a pack of chocolate biscuits, a coffee, and some trashy tv, she’s the one who talks me into getting outdoors and doing some exercise instead.  And of course, she’s a dog.

The Benefits of Pet Ownership

Anika in the vet clinic last week, complete with IV fluids, a cushion from my couch and her fave toys.

When I was asked if I’d like to write a post celebrating the positives of pet ownership, I jumped at the chance.  It’s something I’m super passionate about, because as a vet I see day in and day out just how much pets enrich and improve our lives.  The relationship between a pet and their human is something so special, and for so many reasons.  Like me though, you might find some of the health benefits surprising.

Mars Petcare have created their Pet Positives website with the aim of sharing decades of research into the benefits of pet ownership and human-animal interaction in a gorgeous format that is really enjoyable to read.  If you or someone you know needs a little push to make the plunge into pet ownership, the stats are very convincing. And if you think you already know it all, try my little quiz!

The First Ever Creature Clinic Quiz!  

Pet Positives

Answer 10 easy true or false questions to test your knowledge of why pets are so darn good for us.

1) Pet ownership may improve patient survival after a heart attack, and helps to relieve stress and decrease blood pressure.
2) This is Baxter. And this picture is totally fine.
dog in bed
3) Pet owners have been shown to have greater self esteem and are able to cope with social rejection better than non-pet owners.
4) Dog owners walk 31 minutes more per week than non-dog owners.
5) This is Stephen. There's something fishy going on here.mms_20150921_194755
6) Research has shown that offices who welcome four-legged companions see an increase in productivity and heightened company morale.
7) Pet owners are more likely to meet new people and make meaningful friendships.
8) Research has shown that pets can induce a social response from people with advanced Alzheimer’s disease, even those who do not respond to people, and that dogs in particular help keep elderly people active and provide a routine and a reason to get up in the morning.
9) This is Yoshi.  His room was exactly like this when he got here.adorable labrador puppy dog
10) Children that are involved in looking after pets gain a sense of responsibility and an understanding of what it takes to care for an animal and this helps them to treat others around them with the same empathy and care.

Be sure to click Submit Quiz to see your results!



 

Celebration of and protection of the human-animal bond is the reason small animal veterinarians exist.  We wouldn’t have a job if people didn’t have profound emotional attachments to their pets, and we wouldn’t be vets if we didn’t also feel the same way.

This post was sponsored by Mars Petcare

All opinions and crappy jokes are my own, and I will only ever share information that I think is relevant and valuable to you guys.  I really like the Pet Positives website because it:

  • Aims to raise awareness of the positive experience of pet ownership supported by peer-reviewed academic research.
  • Shares scientific research that backs up what we instinctively know – pets are good for us.
  • Is loaded with the latest pet-related news, insights and trends, as well as valuable tips and tools, all celebrating the benefits of owning a pet.

You can also follow Pet Positives on Twitter and Instagram.

Thnking kitty

So tell me, what’s the number one thing you love most about your pet?

 

Joanna Paul
Dr. Joanna Paul BVSc (hons) BSc Jo is a practicing small animal veterinarian based in Melbourne, Australia. Working in partnership with loving pet owners to ensure their fur-kids remain happy, healthy family members life-long is what brings her joy. Well, that and taking naps. Jo strongly believes that helping to maintain the wonderful bond between a pet and their human is reason enough for a happy dance.
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Showing 39 comments
  • Riya
    Reply

    Thanks for sharing this article. I can’t wait to adopt a dog.

  • Rachel Sheppard
    Reply

    What a fun quiz!! Rooney definitely makes me feel better every day!

    • Joanna Paul
      Reply

      Rooney is completely and totally adorable 🙂
      Thanks for playing and I’m so glad you had fun!

  • Basil
    Reply

    We had much fun with the quiz!

    And life is so much more pawesome when it’s filled with creatures all great and small!

    Purrs

    Basil & Co xox

    • Joanna Paul
      Reply

      Thanks for playing!
      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  • Ashleigh Mills - My Meow
    Reply

    Life is terrible without pets… I don’t know how people do it!

    • Joanna Paul
      Reply

      I’m with you, Ashleigh! How do they do it??? I hope there is never a day in my life that I don’t have someone with 4 legs lounging around my house expecting to be waited on hand and foot 🙂

  • Faith Ellerbe, Live.Wag.BARK!
    Reply

    Of course pets make your life better! As long as I can remember I had a pet. I love the quiz and that you are sharing what positivity pets can bring into your life. I have 4 high energy dogs and I love that they keep me from being lazy. Because of them I have experienced things in my life that I would have never thought of doing before.

    • Joanna Paul
      Reply

      I have two working breed dogs and they are enough dog for me. Hats off to you for keeping FOUR happy – I can’t imagine they would let you be lazy at all. I mean, ever 🙂

  • Sadie
    Reply

    That was a fun quiz! We totally agree – pets are AMAZING!

    • Joanna Paul
      Reply

      So glad you enjoyed the quiz!
      Thanks for visiting 🙂

  • MattieDog
    Reply

    how pawesome! I lub’d dos posting! I got 8 outta 10 right…mostly cuz I error on innocence of da critters!

    • Joanna Paul
      Reply

      Thanks Mattie!
      I think it’s really nice of you to give them the benefit of the doubt 😉

  • Cathy Armato
    Reply

    What a super fun quiz, I scored 8 out of 10. I especially loved question #8; my Mom has Alzheimer’s and I’ve seen first hand the amazing reaction she has to my dogs! One of my dogs is a Therapy Dog, we’ve visited seniors w/ Alzheimer’s as well and I’m amazed at how a seemingly unresponsive senior can suddenly perk up with interest when a dog is brought in! What I love most about my dogs is how they love not just me but absolutely everyone!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    • Joanna Paul
      Reply

      Thanks Cathy,
      That’s so wonderful that your Mom connects with your dogs. How very special that you have a therapy dog and help seniors as well. I really don’t understand why there aren’t resident animals in more nursing homes and similar. I imagine something like a sweet, quiet greyhound could be such beautiful companionship in such places.

  • Talent Hounds
    Reply

    LOL Love quizzes and pets. I got them all right except the one in the bed. I suspected Mum and Dad were at work but we have a Pug so no point denying couches and beds. #lostcause

    • Joanna Paul
      Reply

      Haha. I think Baxter’s family have quickly come to the conclusion that he sleeps where ever he pleases 🙂 and I think they secretly love that about him.

  • Beth
    Reply

    This was a fun quiz! I had to give the Lab the benefit of the doubt when I saw the other choice was to blame the cat. (I may be biased, and I totally knew that Stephen was up to no good.)

    • Joanna Paul
      Reply

      hahaha!
      Let this be a lesson to you, NEVER give a Lab the benefit of the doubt 🙂 Although you are totally correct about Stephen, he’s always looking for mischief.

  • Robin
    Reply

    Pets most definitely do make the world better! I wouldn’t trade them for anything. It is so hard to choose 1 thing that I love most about them. Just to name one thing at random, I love the companionship they provide. Being home alone isn’t so lonely with a kitty on your lap!

    • Joanna Paul
      Reply

      It isn’t, is it. Even if they’re away in another room somewhere, just knowing their furry little presences are about is so nice!

  • Liv & Spark
    Reply

    We KNOW we make our moms happier, and comfort them when we’re sad. Even the kitties at Liv’s house are surprisingly adept at hugs and kisses. How anybody could think otherwise is pure crazy talk. 😉

    • Joanna Paul
      Reply

      Excellent to hear! Loki is really good at hugs and kisses too. I always thought they were more dog talents but he’s sure shown me!

  • Yvonne DiVita
    Reply

    OMG… I totally relate to this post! Life is SO better with pets! What do I love most? Their crazy antics. They make me laugh out loud, even when I don’t feel like laughing.

    • Joanna Paul
      Reply

      Yes! I totally agree.
      It’s their special quirks that make them furry little individuals. And some of the things they do are SO funny. They’re free spirits 🙂

  • carleen
    Reply

    Live is definitely better with pets. My dogs keep my life full and interesting.

    • Joanna Paul
      Reply

      My life is full to overflowing thanks to my pets, and I wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂

  • Reply

    The number one thing I love most about my pets is that they bless my life a thousand times over simply by allowing me to be a part of theirs. And they make me a better person! 🙂

    • Joanna Paul
      Reply

      They do make us better, don’t they Camille! They don’t say a word, but they teach us so much about living a good life, caring for others, and, well, so many other things! And if all else fails they teach us to kick some dirt over it and move on 🙂

  • Reply

    I know my life is so much better after becoming a dog owner. I always had pets growing up but there was a lull between my early teens and college graduation. I never realized how much I missed having a dog until I had one again!

    • Joanna Paul
      Reply

      Your dogs are so adorable Jessica! I just love seeing Gretel and Chester and their adventures. Those little legs of theirs have done a lot of miles, and it really shows people that being small doesn’t mean you can’t achieve great things 🙂

  • Sweet Purrfections
    Reply

    You tricked us on a couple of the questions.

    • Joanna Paul
      Reply

      Well we couldn’t make it too easy, or it wouldn’t be any fun 😉

  • Karen
    Reply

    It was Baxter’s fault that i got one wrong. He told me he was allowed on the master bed…

    • Joanna Paul
      Reply

      I need to have a word to that Baxter about his tall tales… 🙂

  • Kerry
    Reply

    Ummm….. a couple of wrong answers! Seems I like to give pets the benefit of the doubt….. especially when they are as cute as Stephen & Yoshi 🙂

    • Joanna Paul
      Reply

      Haha 🙂 Stephen is indeed a naughty little food thief, and, well, never give a labrador puppy the benefit of the doubt 😉

  • Kevin
    Reply

    I love that my pets love unconditionally! 🙂 Great quiz, I got 8/10!

    Kevin

    • Joanna Paul
      Reply

      Nice work Kevin!
      I think you might have nailed the most special thing about pets right there 🙂

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