As a kid growing up on a farm there were always animals around. We had barn cats to keep the rodents at bay, a dog or two to deter coyotes … we even had a tame pig that slept on our front porch and loved to have her back scratched. I had my share of small animals, too, from hamsters to rats to rabbits. Today I have four dogs, and although many of my friends and family think that makes me a little strange, I wouldn't have it any other way. Having multiple pets actually provides benefits that having a single pet does not.
Allows for Social Interaction - Most animals that are kept as pets are social animals and do better in pairs or small groups. Some species of birds, reptiles ,and amphibians will actually become ill if kept by themselves. Dogs are pack animals and naturally thrive in groups. Cats socialize by grooming each other. Keeping at least two pets of the same species can actually help keep them happy and healthy due to their ability to socially interact.
Prevents Boredom - Dogs and cats get bored when left alone, and many times that boredom causes them to act out. Anyone who has ever come home to a torn up sofa or house full of shredded toilet tissue understands what I mean. Having another pet to play with allows them to entertain one another and eliminates a lot of the bad behavior.
Increases Exercise and Improves Fitness - My dogs chase each other and play tug-of-war with toys all the time. Not only is it entertaining for us to watch, it helps keep their weight in check and their hearts and lungs healthy. My pug has a tendency to be a bit chunky, so racing around with my young Yorkie keeps her in better shape. I have two senior miniature schnauzers that wouldn't get much exercise at all if it weren't for the rambunctious youngster in the house.
Keeps Their Sleep Cycle Better Aligned with Ours - A cat or dog that has lain around all day alone will be full of energy when you get home from work. They'll likely want to play into the wee hours when you're trying to sleep. My daughter has one dog, and she had to begin taking it to daycare three times a week while she was at work, just so the dog would sleep at night.
Keeps You Healthier, Too - A lot has been written lately about the health benefits pets provide their owners. People who own pets not only go to the doctor less often; they have been shown to have healthier blood pressure and fewer instances of heart disease. As long as the number of pets you have is within your ability to provide and care for, it seems to make sense that within reason, more is better.
My dogs provide me with unconditional love, and I, in turn, shower them with affection. But when you get right down to it, there's really nothing else that can replace the companionship of your own species.
"Human-Animal Bond Facts," PawsitiveInterAction.com
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