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The Positive Impact of Pet Ownership on a Marriage

Marriage and Pet Ownership

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Photo: Johanna Goodyear / iStockphoto
Photo: Johanna Goodyear / iStockphoto
A study done by the State University of New York at Buffalo revealed that couples with pets have closer relationships and are more satisfied in their marriage than those who don't have pets. However, not every individual in the world likes pets. Pet ownership needs to be a mutual decision.
Anna Katzman: "If you’re still not ready for a dog, however, don’t ditch the fish. He is a pet, after all, and research consistently shows what the 61% of households in America (which is the percentage of households with pets), already knows: Pets are good for us! ... Petting a dog can decrease your blood pressure by triggering 'the relaxation response', studies by Dr. Beck have demonstrated. Pets pull you into the present, focus your attention: 'One of the easiest ways of having a focus of attention is looking at nature ... Because we’re animals, we’re drawn to nature. Pets are ‘nature on demand’, says Beck."
Source: Anna Katzman. "Why Fido Just Might Be the Remedy You're Looking For." Galtime.com. 7/16/2012.

The Furry Child

Early in our married life, we had a dog, a cat, a parakeet, 2 rabbits, and 13 tanks full of tropical fish - all at the same time. This acquisition of pets is fairly typical of newlyweds.

Some folks describe this stage as testing out being parents. It gives a couple some insight into how they will each deal with responsibility, illness, sharing, and jealousy.

Through the years, after we had kids, our family also assimilated more cats, dogs, hamsters, gerbils, a snake, chickens, rabbits, turtles, ant farms, an iguana, mice, an assortment of lizards, and another parakeet. When our kids launched out on their own, they left behind their critters. There was no empty nest at our house!

Positive Role of Pets

Pets can help reduce stress between married partners and they can help nurture social interaction with others. Here are more ways that pets can have a positive impact on your marriage:
  • Pets provide physical touch.
  • Pets are attentive.
  • Critters can comfort and ease loss or disappointment.
  • Pets are perceived as being totally supportive and accepting and not judgmental.
  • Having a pet around can trigger positive memories.
  • Spending time with a pet can lower your blood pressure.
  • Pets help people relax.
  • When a married couple is going through a difficult or critical time, a pet can help reduce the stress in the family.
  • The companionship and affection from a pet creates a calming effect in a marriage.
  • The presence of pets in a marriage increase the fun in the home especially when the pets do the cute or funny things that pets so often do.
  • Pets can lessen the tension between family members.
  • Many psychologists believe that talking to pets is a healthy form of communication.
  • Pets can counter depression and loneliness.
  • Pets promote physical activity because they require walks and exercise.

Info Above From Pets.WebMD.com: 27 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health
Alternative View About Pet Ownership: Rethinking the Value of Pets

How Pets Can Create Conflict in Your Marriage

The Bottom Line of Pet Ownership

Poll: Has Pet Ownership Created Problems in Your Marriage?

More Information about Studies by the State University of New York at Buffalo:

Karen Allen: "Are Pets a Healthy Pleasure? The Influence of Pets on Blood Pressure." PsychCentral.com. December 2003.

John O'Neil. "A Best Friend in Times of Stress." NYTimes.com. 10/1/2002.

Lois Baker. "Pet-owning couples closer, study says." Buffalo.edu. 4/2/1998.

PT Staff. "Take Two Collies and Call Me in the Morning." PsychologyToday.com. 7/1/1996.

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