A pet or companion animal is an animal kept primarily for a person’s company, protection, or entertainment rather than as a working animal, livestock, or laboratory animal. Popular pets are often noted for their attractive appearances and their loyal or playful personalities.
Pets provide their owners (or guardians) both physical and emotional benefits. Walking a dog can supply both the human and pet with exercise, fresh air, and social interaction. Pets can give companionship to elderly adults who do not have adequate social interaction with other people, as well as to other people who are living alone. There is a medically approved class of therapy animals, mostly dogs or cats, that are brought to visit confined humans, such as children in hospitals or elders in nursing homes. Pet therapy utilizes trained animals and handlers to achieve specific physical, social, cognitive, and emotional goals with patients.
Some of the most popular pets are likely dogs and cats; other animals commonly kept may include (but are not limited to) pigs, ferrets, and rabbits; rodents such as gerbils, hamsters, chinchillas, rats, and guinea pigs; avian pets, such as parrots, passerines, and fowl; reptile pets, such as turtles, lizards and snakes; aquatic pets, such as fish, freshwater and saltwater snails, and frogs; arthropod pets, such as tarantulas and hermit crabs.
Some scholars, ethicists and animal rights organizations have raised concern over pet-keeping with regards to the autonomy and objectification of nonhuman animals.