Chronic Illness & Having a Pet

At For Papa’s Sake, you know we love pets and our dogs are part of our family. But, did you know that having a pet can actually benefit your health, especially when diagnosed with a chronic illness such as Multiple Sclerosis.


Companionship is the number one reason to get a pet. Whether it’s a cat, dog, or even a bird, with a pet you are never truly alone. If you don’t think you can manage caring for a dog then a cat is a great option. Both cats and dogs are known to have a 6th sense and can be calming when you’re not feeling well or need a little pick me up. Let’s not forget the fact that both dogs and cats will love you unconditionally, no matter how you’re feeling that day.

Provides a Distraction

We know looking after a pet can seem overwhelming, but it also acts as a great distraction. When dealing with a chronic illness, often it’s difficult to get your mind off of the pain. Being forced to look after a pet will temporarily take your mind off of whatever you’re feeling. Even though it’s not a permanent fix, taking your dog for a walk can refocus your mind and energy.

Exercise & Feeling Healthy

If you decide on a dog, then you’ll need to take the dog for a walk, which means going outside at least twice a day (or hopefully more.) The exercise and fresh air will be great for your physical health and mental well-being and if the weather is nice, there will be the added bonus of receiving some additional vitamin D, which we all need a little more of.


Whether it’s in real life or online, people with pets tend to talk and bond over them. Most people will be able to say if they are a dog or a cat person and have an opinion about it, making it an easy way to start a conversation with someone and make new friends. Most likely, if you’re out walking your dog, eventually you will run into other dog owners. It’s a great way to meet people in your neighborhood and start new friendships along with growing your support network.

Reduces Stress

It has been proven that petting cats and dogs can help reduce stress. If it’s not practical to keep a dog or cat in your home, consider taking the time to visit friends or relatives who have pets. If a cat or dog sounds like too much responsibility, you could consider a fish, bird, or a pet that requires less constant care and attention. Also, For Papa’s Sake Home Care can help! We can bring one of our well-trained, furry family members over for a visit.

Gets You in a Routine

Being a pet owner requires a routine, especially when it comes to dogs. The type of pet you get will depend on your living arrangements and how severe your chronic illness is, but we promise, there is a pet for everyone. Often times, your pet can adjust to your lifestyle but it’s important to do research prior to making a decision. Different breeds of dogs often come with different characteristics and energy levels, which can match your lifestyle.

There are several great shelters in the Chicago area and we would be more than happy to make a recommendation based on your need. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. We would love to help you find your new furry best friend. Email us at for more info.

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