Keeping a pet can be good for us. Pets can provide companionship if we are lonely, and can encourage us to take more physical exercise.
Walking a dog can provide much needed physical exercise and social interaction.
Petting an animal has been shown to decrease blood pressure and heart rate, providing a calming effect; even watching fish in an aquarium can be beneficial.
People who own pets are less likely to suffer from feelings of loneliness and isolation - beneficial in preventing depression - and are less likely to experience feelings of alienation.
If you live in rented accommodation, social housing, or in a block of flats, always check with your landlord, or managing agents, as you may require permission to keep a pet.
If you are on a low income you may be able to access free or subsidised vet care for your pet from the The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA).
If you need to go into hospital in an emergency then your local council may be able to assist in finding somewhere where your pet can be looked after whilst you are aware. Go to our information on Looking After Your Home Whilst You Are In Hospital to find out more.
There are many websites to help you if you're thinking about getting a pet. Many also help rescued animals find new homes.
Animal Rescue is a directory of animal rescue web sites grouped by location and animal. It has pages for lost and found pets and pets needing new homes.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) is the leading animal welfare charity. They have the experience and knowledge to make a real difference to the lives of animals. They also have animals who are looking for new homes.
The National Association of Registered Pet Sitters offers a range of pet sitting services while owners are away on holiday or at work etc. Services include: home boarding for all pets, house sitting, day care/daily visits, cat visiting, dog walking, small pet/bird care etc.
The National Careline website has more information about pets and their benefits as well as information on related subjects.