PENSACOLA, Fl. (WALA) - Owning a pet as we know costs money and when you like to spoil your animals, it gets even more expensive.
The good news is in the long run, having that happy face greet you when you walk in the door is good for you and there are several benefits to having a furry friend around.
So first and foremost, how much is your pet costing you a year?
Mainstay Financial professional Annalee Leonard says owning a dog for example can cost about $20,000 a year.
The cost of food, toys, boarding your pet if you like to travel and emergency care can all add up.
Despite those costs, there’s often no limit to the love we feel for our pets which could actually be saving you money in other areas of life.
Forget the gym, get a walking buddy.
If you get a dog, you will need to run or walk it everyday and that exercise could save you a gym membership. Leonard says one in five people who sign up for the gym tend to drop out but that doesn’t work with a dog, you’ve signed up for a 15 year membership- which includes the morning alarm!
"If it's a big dog you're going to have to run the dog you've got to get out you've got to move so just the exercise factor to me is a wonderful aspect," Leonard said.
Free entertainment, exercise
Going to the park can provide great entertainment and helps you meet other people who are going on a walk or spending time in the same area.
There’s also satisfaction in learning how to train dogs. It’s a challenging and rewarding activity for both the animal and the owner.
While you’re getting that free entertainment and exercise, you’re also helping yourself stay healthy. Doctors say pets can boost your immunity and children with early exposure to dogs can have few respiratory and ear infections. Plus, studies show pets can prevent allergies in children.
You can also claim your pet is helping you stay heart healthy.
The American Heart Association recently linked pet ownership with a reduced risk for heart disease and studies show owning a pet can lower your cholesterol and your blood pressure.
While your animal is helping you stay physically healthy, they’re also good at helping people relax and can be good mood boosters.
“There is something uplifting about having an animal that loves you unconditionally no matter if you have a fight with a friend or a bad day at work,” Leonard said.
She said dogs and other pets have been shown to be great for stress management and relief, which in turn reduces medical expenses for stress-related illnesses.
Lastly, dogs can help keep you safe. Chances are your pup gets exited and protective when a stranger comes to the door. Leonard said studies have shown that potential burglars are put off by barking dogs.
Leonard said there’s not a definite monetary amount for how much you save having a pet but she said the benefits of having a furry friend around are much more rewarding in the long run and good for your mental, physical and emotional health.
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