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The Benefits of Having a Family Pet

There are so many benefits of having a family pet. We spoke to our founder of Homebodies, Simone Wilson about how her darling Elvis has changed her family’s life. “Pets really do become a huge part of your family and the unconditional, never ending love they can provide you with is something so pure and special that only they can give you. Since having Elvis, my three children all share a love of him and he brings a real sense of calm into our home!”

We have also spoken to a number of our families who have a pet or recently got one during lockdown, and they have shared with us the main benefits of having a pet in their family, especially during this tough time due to Covid-19.

· Reduces stress and anxiety: playing with, stroking and hugging a pet can instantly reduce stress and anxiety levels. So, when you’re down, give your pet a cuddle.

· Improve fitness levels: most pets need a fair bit of exercise. Your fitness levels will definitely improve as walking or playing with your pet in the garden or at a park will make you active in such an easy and simple way.

· Creates a tight knit bond: we form close bonds with human family and friends, but a lot of people feel much closer to their pet. Some people even claim to love their pet more than their partner due to the fact that your pets never holds grudges and is always over the moon to see you! Your pet provides you with never ending love, affection and happiness which is so vital in order to create a positive living environment.

· Life goes on: pets have a special way in which they remind you that life does go on even during such uncertain and worrying times. They also bring a structure to your day which is especially important right now.

· Keeps you sane: pets have an incredible way in which they somehow manage to keep you sane. Whether you’re going through a tough time or a worldwide pandemic (like now) they manage to keep you level-headed and calm. We find that pretty amazing considering that they can’t verbally speak to us.

Increases serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine levels: there has been a study done recently that shows that oxytocin levels are boosted in both the dog and the owner when the owner stares into the eyes of the dog. Also, petting your fury friend releases “feel good” chemicals (serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine) all of which boost one’s mood and encourage social bonding.

Here are some of our fun ideas that you and your family can do to entertain your fury friends during lockdown:

· Food puzzles: making your pet work for their meals as well as occupying their attention by feeding them solely from food puzzles.

· Obedience skills: work out what the highest-value reward for your pet to encourage them to perform tricks for their rewards. It can be for a treat, toy or even petting.

· Agility course: create an indoor or outdoor agility course for your pet using books, furniture and other household items. Your little one can lead them through it with a treat or a toy in hand – you could tire out your little one by doing this, bonus!

· Toy swap: try to change things up and make things a bit more exciting for your pet by swapping and alternating their toys every day or every second day so they don’t get bored with the same toys.

· Climbing towers: for your feline friends, add a vertical space to give them the chance to enjoy a lookout perch near a window so that they can watch the birds in the garden.

At Homebodies we truly believe that a pet can change your life. They will contribute such a difference to your family dynamic and add a love that no other human can give you. Of course, everybody loves to get a puppy or kitten but please do consider adopting from your local animal shelter.

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our life whole.”

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