Pets Make the Best Medicine

Having a ruff week? Need a little pick-me-up about meow?

Your best bet might be to get a pet!

Studies show time spent with dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters — even fish! — can be one of the most effective ways to stay happy and healthy. 

In our 6th installment of the Year of Good Sleep wellness series, our Dreamologists chatted with Tracy Mohr, Animal Services Manager for the City of Chico and general overseer of all things Chico Animal Shelter and Chico Animal Control. Tracy shared her thoughts on how animals can have a positive effect on health and wellness–as well as a few tips on keeping your pets healthy and well, too!

Science says: pets can boost your health

People who have pets are often healthier, says Tracy. For people who live alone, especially during these more isolating COVID-9 times, pets can be wonderful companions. They give people a reason to get up, a way to be active, and somebody to talk to. “Even fish can be beneficial for people!”

According to the CDC, some of the health benefits of owning pets include:

  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Decreased cholesterol levels
  • Decreased triglyceride levels
  • Decreased feelings of loneliness
  • Increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities
  • Increased opportunities for socialization

“All of us here at the Chico Animal Shelter,” says Tracy, “can agree that pets definitely enrich our lives and make them more pleasurable and more fun.”

Don’t have a furry friend? Here’s how to get the bene-pets:

If you don’t have the ability to have a pet of your own right now, there are plenty of opportunities to interact with animals here in town. 

Tracy’s #1 tip? Volunteer! “At the Chico Animal Shelter, we have a volunteer program where you can come and walk dogs and socialize with the cats. You can sign up from home!”

A few of her other ideas:

  • Notice a neighbor with a lonely or barking dog? Offer to take it on a run or walk
  • Volunteer at another animal shelter in town, such as the Bidwell Wildlife Rehabilitation
  • Offer to pet-sit for a friend or family member
  • Offer to throw a ball for a neighborhood pooch
  • Volunteer with Meals on Wheels – they also help out senior-aged pets!
  • Watch some cute pet videos on YouTube
  • Live-stream pups and kittens at rescue centers (you’re welcome)

Pets need to stay healthy, too! Here’s how.

Sorry, table scraps and endless naps. Our furry friends need a wellness regimen, too!

Good food:

A good diet,” says Tracy, “is always important. It should be appropriate for the age and activity level of the pet. Just like with people, if you have a good diet, that’s half the battle! Try to avoid too many treats and people food, and ask your vet for a healthy food recommendation.”


Dogs, says Tracy, need to get out for a walk, and indoor cats should have environment-rich exercises where they can look out the window, play, and be active. 

I said, Doctor!

Be sure they’re up to date on vaccinations, and always keep an eye out for an abnormal behavior in your pet. Something looking off? Head to the vet, or consider telemed for pets! “When somebody adopts or fosters a pet through Chico Animal Shelter, they have access to telemed services. It’s not a vet, but it gives a few tips!” 

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Make sure your pets are microchipped and have a collar. If they’re dogs, they need to be licensed in Chico and all of California. Together, “these will get the animal home without needing to come to the shelter,” says Tracy. P.S. Need a tag? Visit to fill out a form for a free pet tag!

Whether you’re out horsin’ around or just doggone crazy for cockatiels, pets are a wonderful way to boost your wellness and stay healthier this season. “Pets are a great addition to our lives,” says Tracy. “They definitely make our lives better.”

At Square Deal, we’re proud to be another Chico business working alongside wonderful organizations like Chico Animal Shelter and the amazing work they do to rescue, care for, and protect our furry friends. 

And we might be a little biased: is there a better nap companion than a pet? We maintain there’s no better night’s sleep than one with a furry friend. ???

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