A lot of families welcome new pets into their homes at Christmas. While a new puppy or kitten might increase your anxiety and stress in the beginning, in the long term, they offer health benefits as well as companionship. Children who grow up in homes with animals have fewer respiratory tract infections and ear infections than those who don’t – the younger the kids, the better the results. Pets can help boost the immune system of children, also. For adults, pets can decrease obesity, cholesterol, and stress levels. Single adults tend to live longer when they have pets than those who live alone.
As cute as a puppy or kitten with a bow is, be sure the welcoming household is ready for a new addition before it shows up under (and possibly chews on) the tree. If they are, your local animal shelters are full of animals ready for a new loving home and family.