Why Do We Keep Pets?

By  | January 5, 2018 | Filed under: Interesting Facts, News

Animals do not keep pets….you will never see a horse caring for a pet snake or a weasel walking a hamster.

Making an animal part of the family seems to be something only humans do. The question is, why?

It is unclear just how far back pet-keeping goes.
We know that, thousands of years ago, our ancestors likely kept some wolves around. They may have captured them young, domesticated them and found that they were useful for hunting.

Gradually they became tamer companions and evolved into dogs. This could have been as early as 27,000 years ago some scientist say.

Ever since, humans have had dogs around, and keeping a pet has become a common part of many cultures…..This may seem strange when you consider that it is a costly business. Pets get meals, healthcare and a home for life. Though they clearly provide companionship, it is time-consuming and care often goes one way.

Many reasons have been proposed.10686919_10205390648827038_1190461647724994846_n

For several decades there was a prevailing view that they provided health benefits such as increased psychological well-being and could even make people live longer.

However, the evidence is contradictory. While some research has shown that pets do increase some aspects of health, more recently the opposite has also been found.

Some suggest that having a pet such as a dog may be an “honest signal” of a person’s wealth. That is, caring for an animal shows the owner has adequate extra resources to provide for it in addition to him or herself.

James Serpell, professor of Animal Ethics & Welfare at the University of Pennsylvania, goes one step further and says that there are still evolutionary benefits today to keeping pets…Because we are such a social species, he says, we are constantly seeking relationship with others…including with our pets. “Humans which lack social support are more vulnerable to disease and infection.”

It is clearly difficult to pinpoint exactly why humans keep pets, it may be a combination of several factors. Either way, a puppy or kitten is not getting any less cute.

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