The holiday season often causes us to reflect on the many things that bring joy into our lives. Does your list of what you’re thankful for this year include a four-legged friend? Before you sit down to eat all of that turkey and pumpkin pie, take a moment to think about why you’re thankful for your pet!

Here are 8 reasons to be thankful for pets:

  1. Pets encourage us to exercise. We all know that exercise is good for us, but that doesn’t mean we always do it! Having a pet encourages us to exercise because they often need to release energy, and many pets love to play outside. Exercise can benefit us in so many ways. It can improve our moods, help us maintain a healthy weight, boost our immunity, and reduce our risk of chronic diseases.
  2. Pets love us unconditionally. Our pets can teach us so many things, including how to love unconditionally. Pets don’t care what we look like, how much money we make, or what we do for a living. If you take good care of them and give them the attention they deserve, your pet will love you unconditionally.
  3. They’re good for your health. Having a pet can help with depression and loneliness, plus it can decrease blood pressure. Studies have shown that having a pet can help decrease a child’s risk of having allergies and asthma, and Alzheimer’s patients have fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home.
  4. Pets make us laugh. Our furry friends definitely know how to make us smile and laugh, even if they aren’t trying. Whether they are running around the house after a fresh haircut or chasing a feather duster around the room, our pets can provide us with hours of entertainment.
  5. Pets can help us socialize. Whether you’re on a walk with your pet or at a dog park, you’re likely to run into another pet owner and may even form a new friendship. Pets can help us socialize with others by giving us something common to talk about with our coworkers, neighbors, and even strangers.
  6. They provide companionship. Having a pet can help decrease loneliness. You’re never truly alone if you have a pet. If your spouse is traveling for work or your kids are gone for the night, you can still count on your pet’s companionship—and snuggles!
  7. Pets are always happy to see you. If you have a bad day at work, you can always be sure that your pet will be happy to see you. Who doesn’t like to be greeted with slobbery kisses and a wagging tail?
  8. They give us purpose. Having a pet comes with responsibility, which can help give us purpose. Taking care of and thinking about someone besides yourself can be very rewarding.

Do you have a pet that you’re thankful for? Tell us about your pet and why you’re thankful for them!