The Joy Of Owning Small Pets: The Top 5 Ways Animals Improve Your Well – Home & Roost

The Joy Of Owning Small Pets: The Top 5 Ways Animals Improve Your Wellbeing

The Joy Of Owning Small Pets: The Top 5 Ways Animals Improve Your Wellbeing

Colin Pierce |

Almost 60% of Brits own a pet, and for a good reason. With their cute little faces and quirky personalities, pets provide hours of entertainment, devoted friendship and unconditional love. Studies have proven that animals, great and small, can improve our well-being and mental health. If you don’t have the space for a large, time-consuming pet like a horse or a dog, small mammals such as hamsters, rabbits and guinea pigs or even birds and reptiles can be a brilliant addition to the family.

Help prevent loneliness

Animals can make wonderful companions and help keep loneliness at bay, which might explain why 3.2 million households acquired a pet during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Coming home to a pet, especially for the elderly or those who live alone, can be a great comfort. Feeling a small animal’s affection and trust grow in you as you care for them is deeply satisfying and can help people at risk of loneliness feel a sense of purpose and belonging. Surprisingly, rabbits are exceptionally affectionate and social animals, especially when kept indoors as a house pet. 

Reduce anxiety and depression

Studies have shown repeatedly that positively interacting with animals reduces blood pressure and releases feel-good hormones in our brains, which in turn reduces stress levels and heart rate. There is something about watching small animals go about their simple lives without worries or stress that is innately calming and humbling – even watching fish swim about has been proven to have this effect. Pet-therapy is great for adults and children alike who struggle with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression or PTSD.

Raise self-esteem

The sense of pride felt when caring for a pet builds confidence and self-esteem, particularly for children. Keeping a small pet means keeping their habitat clean, feeding them and interacting with them. This teaches important life skills to children such as responsibility and accountability. Children love to look after small animals and it is a lovely way to encourage an empathetic and caring attitude which will help them throughout their lives. 

Increase social skills

In the words of Alan Beck, from the Purdue University Centre for the Human-Animal Bond, “97% of pet owners talk to their pets and the other three percent are liars.” Communicating with people is hard sometimes, but pets don’t criticise or judge and are excellent listeners. Confiding in them, teaching them tricks and playing with them increases our social skills and makes us feel understood and heard. For children, caring for a small pet helps them practise vital social skills, as well as learning to be gentle, patient and kind.

Help process grief and loss

An unfortunate truth is that we all lose people, and animals, that we love. Having a pet to love and care for can be very therapeutic when grieving, and many people find reassurance in the routine of caring for them. As wonderful as small pets are, they tend not to live as long as cats and dogs. Small rodents such as hamsters and gerbils only live for 2-3 years, which can be heartbreaking. However, for children this opens an opportunity to learn to cope with death. 

Whichever small animal you choose to add to your family, be sure to do thorough research around the needs and requirements for their specific species. Many small pet products do not meet recommended standards and can even be dangerous to your new friend, so it’s worth reading up on how to care for them properly.


I agree with you 1000%. I am one who raises beautiful rabbits ❤️ and I only sell them as pets. I won’t let my bunnies ( kits/kittens ) get depressed. I love on them, snuggle with all of them, and sing and talk with them all, all the time ?. I also kiss them many,many,many times during the night and during the day. They all let me kiss them whether they are in my arms ? on the floor, awake or ? sleeping and All my bunnies have names and a very special individual ? personal song each. No two names or songs are alike. A lot of times I don’t even realize that I’m singing a song to one of my bunnies or just talking baby talk to them while I’m shopping or taking care of business.I wondered why I was getting all these weird looks, but it never bothered me or stopped me from talking to my babies, even if they weren’t with me at the time. These animals are not just animals, they are truly a blessed gift from our Heavenly ❤️ FATHER and I love HIM.I was raised with all kinds of pets.I couldn’t wait to get home from school to be with my animals.Animals keep everything we say to them, a secret—-strictly confidential. Isn’t that awesome? Only GOD knows what We say to our animals. Well I could go on and on but I will spare you. Thank you for really loving all your animals. The LORD will bless you for it (SMILE), Tina.


I like what you have to say about animals being very helpful for anxiety, depression, and PTSD. I have a letter from my doctor saying he would like me to get a pet to help with this purpose. My previous service dog passed away at the age of 18 and 10 months old. My landlord refuses to honor my doctor’s letter from my psychiatrist. I do not know how to force his hand in this matter, as having a small pet would help my depression, PTSD, and anxiety very much.

Mary Sibert,

Agree ?

Maureen Thurston,

I liked browsing your website, but then was very disappointed to see rabbit hutches for sale. Surely, if you are truly animal lovers, this cruel practice should be discouraged, as it has a detrimental effect on the lives of rabbits, who are social animals. Being cooped up in these cages can cause them to become severely depressed. I know, as there is one next door who just sits there on his own, with no company. He never gets cuddled or let out for a run. It’s barbaric and shouldn’t be allowed.


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