Healthy Pets Are Part of Happier, Healthier Families
Companionship may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a pet. Life with an animal can boost wellness and health too. There is considerable evidence animals can reduce heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol and regularly interacting with animals can reduce anxiety and promote calmness. It isn’t just cats, dogs and rabbits offering heart healthy benefits of lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels; researchers discovered viewing fish tanks led to noticeable reductions in heart rate and blood pressure too.
Pets are also social connectors for owners acting as a conversation starter. Multiple studies reveal just being in the presence of a pet increases the frequency of social interactions, especially with strangers.
Personally I’ve found my pets often provide comic relief from life’s daily stresses. It is the reason animal videos are a top category of viral content every year.
A video captures some of the wonderful things about companion animals in our lives. It is produced by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the organizer of National Pet Week®. The video and observation celebrates the special bonds between pets and people.
To celebrate the 35th anniversary of National Pet Week®, the American Veterinary Medical Association spotlights things every pet owner should consider to ensure that their pet lives the longest, healthiest life possible. Learn more at http://petweek.org
National Pet Week® is observed the first full week in May. Created in 1981 by the American Veterinary Medical Association, National Pet Week® is dedicated to celebrating America’s more than 200 million pets that enrich our lives each and every day and encourage responsible pet care every day of the year.
About 2.7 million healthy, adoptable companion animals—about one every 11 seconds—are euthanized in U.S. shelters each year according to the Humane Society of the United States. Many people fail to spay or neuter their dogs and cats, contributing to the problem of wonderful pets left homeless and on the streets or in shelters.
One group, Universal K9, is rescuing homeless dogs from shelters and training them to work with police and government agencies. See the video following one dog from “death row” to canine hero!
Pets are a big part of our lives and many of us take our dogs and cats with us when we travel. Millions of pets are included in vacation plans every year. In fact, more resorts and vacation packages are being designed around pet families. The American Automobile Association, or AAA, says more hotels and resorts welcome companion animals. AAA says in the United States there are more than 12-thousand pet friendly hotels. Other vacation options for pet families include animal friendly campgrounds and marinas. Double-check with your resort, hotel or other location on their animal policy to ensure your pet receives a warm welcome on arrival.
So how will you get there? Flying might sometimes seem to be the fastest and least stressful way to go, it can be the opposite for a pet forced to fly in the cargo hold. The only time any animal should be placed on a plane is if you’re relocating and all other options are unavailable. Most pet families drive with their pets. Nearly six in 10 respondents to an AAA/Kurgo survey reported they had driven with their dog in the automobile at least once a month in the past year.
Before you begin packing, there are few preliminary steps to get your furry friend ready for the big trip. Consider having your animal microchipped by your veterinarian or a facility like the Animal Protective Association of Missouri. This is a low cost and painless process in which a microchip containing all identification information is inserted under the animal’s skin. Also have your veterinarian issue a health certificate stating that your animal is healthy and able to travel and that all necessary vaccinations are up to date.
Plan your trip with your pet in mind. Will there be a lot of pet friendly activities, or will he or she be cooped up in a hotel room while you are on the golf course, sunning on the beach or riding roller coasters? As much as you love your pets, if they suffer from motion sickness, get over-stimulated easily, or get physically or emotionally upset when their routines are disrupted, the best option for them may be to stay home or in the care of a trusted sitter.
If your trip itinerary is pet friendly and your vehicle is outfitted for your furry friend there are, of course, some steps to follow:
• Never leave your pet alone in the car: Dogs can suffer and die when left inside parked cars, even on mildly warm days. On a 78°F day, the temperature inside a shaded car is 90°F, and the inside of a car parked in the sun can reach 160°F in minutes. Animals can succumb to heatstroke within just 15 minutes.
• To prevent sickness, feed pets early so that they don’t eat in the few hours before departure. Exercise them several hours before you depart so that they aren’t hot and thirsty in the car or forced to “hold it” for hours after gulping down water after a walk.
• Don’t transport your pet in the bed of a pickup truck. All it takes is one abrupt stop for them to be propelled into the street; plus, heat brings the added danger that they might burn their feet on the hot metal.
• Carry water and ice in containers for rest stops. No-spill travel bowls are available in pet supply stores and online.
• For pets prone to car sickness, consult your veterinarian for remedies or try ginger capsules, available at health-food stores.
• Use a kennel or restrain your dog with a canine seat belt, available from pet supply stores and catalogs.
• Never open a car window or door when your pet is unrestrained. Countless animals have been lost at tollbooths and rest stops this way.
• Stop to walk dogs often.
• Use a window shade for the back and side windows. Make sure that your air conditioning is working properly, and use it while driving. It is not safe to let an animal hang his or her head out a car window.