Maybe we’re a little biased, but did you know dog ownership has actually been linked to better physical health?! Of course we all love our fur babies simply for the joy they bring, but who knew that dog ownership can actually improve overall health and well being.
Doctors typically recommend 2-3 hours of moderate exercise each week, but most dog owners are much more physically active than that and far surpass those requirements. More exercise and physical activity is related to reduced cholesterol and lower blood pressure which improve overall heart health and decrease the likelihood of serious events like heart attack and stroke. Harvard Health writes that “Having a dog can help your heart - literally” (Harvard Health).
But wait, there are benefits to your mental health too! Exercise increases the production of serotonin and dopamine, the “happy” chemicals that produce feelings of joy and relaxation. What’s more - studies show that dog owners tend to have healthier social lives because they’re likely to connect with people about their (furry) common interests. They also help stave off feelings of loneliness and anxiety by “giving us a reason to get up in the morning” (The 10 Health Benefits of Dogs).
Our disclaimer: pets are a great addition to the family, especially given these added benefits. However, each family should assess its ability to care for an animal individually, and remember that pet ownership is a BIG responsibility. For people considering adopting a new furry family member, here are some important questions to consider:
So the moral of this story is: if you’re in the position to responsibly own a pet, adopt a furry friend to improve your physical and mental health!
Many of us love our furry family members as much as our human ones, so the desire to share our meals with them makes total sense. After all, food = love, right? But before sharing that next human snack with your pup, we suggest reading below to see what options are safe, and what foods should be avoided. There are many human foods that are totally fine (some even offer great health benefits) but others can cause serious damage and potentially lead to major illness.
“No-go” foods for dogs:
So what can I share with my dog?
These lists are not exhaustive, and even foods on the “safe” list should be fed in moderation. As always, we recommend talking to your veterinarian about the best diet for your pets. Always research and ask questions when you’re unsure - better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the health and well-being of your fur babies.
If you suspect that your pet has eaten something harmful or been exposed to poison, consult the Animal Poison Control Center immediately.
Did you know? There’s a very toxic strain of blue-green algae that’s alive and well in ponds and standing water on the East Coast. This rare type of algae can be very harmful to dogs, even lethal in some cases, and should be on your radar as a dog owner.
Veterinarians suggest that dog owners keep their pups away from waters that are murky and/or smelly in nature; it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Read below for more specific details about the most recent incident, where three dogs in North Carolina died after being (unexpectedly) exposed to these deadly plants.
Fox8 North Carolina
Believe it or not, pets get lonely too! In simple terms, separation anxiety is a dislike or discomfort with solitude, and is commonly seen when pet parents leave their babies alone for extended amounts of time. Because it is fairly common, we recommend having basic background knowledge in case your babies, or your friends’ babies, ever experience similar challenges.
Veterinarians estimate that 20 to 40% of all dog behavior issues in the U.S. stem from separation anxiety alone. Common symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs include behaviors like excessive howling or drooling and destruction of household items.
We’ve all heard stories about separation anxiety in dogs, but did you know cats can struggle with it too? While we usually think of cats as solitary creatures, especially compared to pack-loving dogs, there are tons of cats who love socializing and love “their people.” While less common, it’s just as important to know the potential symptoms in cats, which include unusual urination, changing eating patterns, and displays of aggression when the owner returns from extended time away.
There are a variety of treatment options for separation anxiety in both dogs and cats, but most vets suggest trying behavior alterations first.
Every animal is unique, and in some cases, behavior alterations simply aren’t enough. In partnership with your vet, you can look into prescription options. Anti-anxiety medications might be the best option for your family, but it is important to use these alongside behavior alterations; they should never take the place of these modifications. Of course, as always, The Village Pets, Pet Sitting and Pet Care recommends consulting your veterinarian first and foremost before trying to diagnose any of these behaviors at home!
Want to learn more? Check out Manhattan-based veterinarian Arnold Plotnick’s double-whammy experience with separation anxiety here.
For cat-specific resources, check out CatHealth.com and for dog-specific information, check out the ASPCA.
To help your relationship with your pet to thrive, we love offering tips & tricks to help owners get the most out of our services.