It’s no secret that dogs are everyone’s best friend, but in the last few years, the pet care industry has been booming. According to the market research firm Edge by Ascential, pet care was a $225 billion business in North America in 2018. That number is expected to jump to $281 billion by 2023.
Why the sudden boom? With the youngest millennials now at age 25 and Generation Z entering adulthood, more Americans are choosing to bring pets into their household earlier than other generations.
This isn’t a bad thing, either. In fact, bringing pets into your home can help you live a happier, healthier life.
Pets keep young people from diving into major decisions
For millennials, pets provide a budget-friendly alternative to major life changes such as marriage and children. According to Elizabeth Bruenig, a columnist with the Washington Post, younger people want more time to grow into themselves and achieve an independent identity before they decide to get married or have kids.
This delay has actually lowered the national divorce rate, which is currently between 40% to 50%. Younger people are living together for a longer period of time and they’re getting to know each other well before walking down the aisle.
Millennials are also delaying having children, Bruenig says, because they want to get into a reasonable financial position beforehand. For instance, one-third of all adoptions happen in single-family homes, but it’ll be many years before most millennials are able to buy a house.
Pets, on the other hand, come in different shapes and sizes. Millennials can choose to invest in a dog, cat, rabbit, snake, or other types of pets that they can live with at home or in a studio apartment. Their versatility allows millennials to build high-quality relationships without taking any major steps they’re not financially ready for.
“We found that pet owners, on average, were better off than non-owners, especially when they have a higher-quality relationship with their pets,” said Dr. Allen R. McConnell, a pet researcher and professor of psychology at Miami University. “What makes a meaningful relationship varies from person to person.”
Owning a pet is better for your health
Pets aren’t just an alternative to kids. They’re also a health benefit. Of course, Harvard Health suggests that pet owners may be healthier because people with healthy lifestyles choose to get a dog.
But in any case, owning a pet can improve your health and boost your happiness in the following ways:
- Reduced stress levels. In today’s gig economy, there are 400 entrepreneurs working around the world and many of them work from home. Having a pet at home while you work and petting them routinely can lower your blood pressure and cut down on the stress hormone cortisol.
- Reduced risk of heart disease. Dog owners are less likely to suffer from heart disease and other cardiovascular problems than non-owners. This is because dog owners walk more than non-owners because they need to keep their furry friends healthy. It also helps to keep themselves healthy, too.
- Improved social life. Humans are social creatures, which means owning a pet can help to improve your health and happiness. Pets can provide companionship while also helping you connect with other people.
Remember that pets are still a big responsibility no matter what age you are. That said, be sure that you’re keeping your pet happy and healthy, too.