To start off, it’s important to note that pets can and do positively affect the health of their owners in a lot of ways. Having a pet can encourage physical activity, lower blood pressure, combat loneliness, and promote an overall sense of happiness. However, there are a few circumstances in which having a pet can have negative health implications. Below are three ways pets can be hard on your health and, most importantly, how to combat them:
Your dog’s barking is causing stress: The sound of a dog barking incessantly is sure to raise anyone’s stress level. Instead of writing this behavior off as “bad” and dealing with your escalating blood pressure, it’s important to address the cause of the barking. Is your dog bored or anxious? Make sure your canine companion is getting plenty of physical activity and mental stimulation to help ward off undesirable behaviors. Speak with a behaviorist if you need to enlist extra help.
You cat’s nighttime antics are keeping you up: Research has shown that getting a full night’s sleep helps reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes, and depression. Because of their natural instincts, many cats are awake during part of the night, which can interrupt their family’s precious sleep. Ensure your cat is ready for bed when you are by providing plenty of playtime and activity during the day. If your kitty tends to wake you up before your alarm, the best solution is to ignore the behavior. It may take a couple weeks, but eventually, your cat will realize she’s not getting what she wants and the meowing will subside.
Your allergies are acting up: Unless your allergies are severe, it’s usually possible to keep them at bay while owning a pet. It’s a common misconception that people are allergic to pet fur, when in actuality, it’s usually the dander that triggers a reaction. Cut down on your exposure to dander by washing your hands after petting or playing with your pet, making sure your pet gets a weekly bath, and frequently washing your four-legged companion’s bedding.
By nipping these issues in the bud, you and your four-legged best friend can have a healthy, happy bond.