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The Impact of Pets on Your Health

Pet dog

Pets purr, cuddle, wag their tails and do not yell back. Puppies and kittens break our heart and many of us wish to have one at home. There are indeed many physical and psychological benefits of raising pets. But, they can also do some damage. In this article, we look at the positive and negative ways pets can affect your health.

The Good Impact

  • Better Health: Research has found that owners of dogs and cats enjoy better health than those who do not raise pets. Good health was measured by the frequency of doctor visits and the quantity of medications taken. Another study discovered that pet owners make fewer visits to doctors.
  • Lowers hypertension: Studies reveal that playing with a dog and petting it fondly lowers blood pressure. In fact, watching a Lassie movie can lower stress.
  • Increases longevity: Pets are known to increase the lifespan of seniors.
  • Allergy prevention: There is evidence that children who grow up with pets are more immune to allergies caused by grass, ragweed, dust mite etc. Cats have a better impact on boosting kids’ immunity than dogs.
  • Obesity: An Australian study found that children with a dog in the house are less likely to be obese or overweight compared to those who do not own dogs.
  • Fitness: Taking your dog out for a walk is good exercise that can boost your fitness. Dogs make great walking buddies as they do not give excuses to shirk daily exercise.
  • Smoking: Surveys suggest having pets in the house is a great de-motivator for smokers. Secondhand smoke affects pets too. And, if you truly love your pet you would give up smoking today.
  • Schoolwork: Many studies have found that children with pets like a dog, hamster or goldfish are smarter than other kids. Your kids can improve their reading skills by simply reading out loud to your dog.

The Bad Impact on Health

  • Cost: This news will make your blood pressure soar. Raising a pet can make a hole in your pocket. If you wish to buy a pedigree dog or cat, it costs almost a fortune. Even if you wish to adopt a stray kitten or puppy, maintenance costs are still huge. Surveys reveal that the annual cost of raising a goldfish is about $35 which increases to a whopping $875 for a big dog. And, this is just the minimum amount.
  • Allergies: Dogs and cats can make allergy patients sneeze, wheeze and cough. You might also suffer watery eyes and a runny nose. Thus, allergy patients would be well advised to give a wide berth to dogs, cats and other pets that can aggravate their symptoms.
  • Pet aggression: Every year, around 4.5 million Americans suffer dog bites. About 20% of these bites need medical attention. Young kids are most at risk if you have an aggressive dog in the house. Cat bites also can cause serious infections.
  • Sickness: Your pet can spread plague, MRSA infection and ringworm. Those with weakened immunity are more at risk. It is essential to wash your hands thoroughly after handling your pet. It is not advisable to allow the pet on your bed.

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