Health Benefits of Having a Pet

By: Erin Ford

Pet owners are well aware of the many benefits of pet ownership — unconditional love,

something to cherish at the end of the day, a being to care for beyond yourself. Beyond those fulfilling, life-affirming reasons, there are some tangible health benefits to being a pet owner. Below I’ve outlined some of the most common health gains that come from owning a pet.

 

  • Less stress and lower blood pressure

 

When petting a cat or dog, you brain can release the chemical oxytocin, which results in happiness and bonding. But you don’t even need to pet the animal to activate that chemical release. This study showed that even having a pet present during a stressful event helped people relax. The conclusion made was that people see their pets as supportive parts of their lives, and having them by their side during a challenging time was reassuring. This study, focused on hypertension, found that pet ownership helped with blood pressure during a stressful event more than a certain pharmaceutical drug.

 

  • Less anxiety, which decreases pain

 

Whenever you feel as though nothing’s going right in life — just look at your pet. No matter what mess-ups, challenges, or disappointments are going on in your life, your pet will still have unconditional love for you. As long as they have your love, some food, and a warm place to sleep, they are happy. Realizing this may help pull you out of an anxiety attack or a gloomy mood. The presence of pets is scientifically shown to decrease anxiety and can help with chronic pain. College campuses across the country bring therapy dogs onto campus, especially during finals week, to ease students stress and anxiety. (Here is a heartwarming article about the great impact service dogs have.) In addition, there are many therapy animals that people depend on for anxiety. This article is about Otitis the rescue cat, who in turn, rescued his owner in helping her with her severe anxiety. This study from Loyola University found that patients recovering from total joint replacement surgery who receive animal-assisted therapy (AAT) require less pain medication than those who do not experience this type of therapy.

 

 

Pets can be a great motivator to get outside and get active. Dogs need to be walked at least twice a day, which can motivate their owners. There have been times when I would have much rather snuggled on the couch under a blanket, but I couldn’t let my dog down. It benefits both you and your pup, as getting some fresh air and your heart pumping is an important part of each day. You can explore new places and go on hikes with your companion, so you’re never lonely. These outings can potentially introduce you to new people. If you take your dog to the dog park, you have a community of fellow dog-lovers to get to know. So, with your pet, you are introduced to new places and people.

While we may feel firsthand the emotional and mental health benefits that pet provide, just know that the next time you snuggle, pet, or walk your four-legged friend, your body will thank you for it!

You can read more on this topic by visiting:

 

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Benefits of Adopting an Older Pet

4 reasons

By: Erin Ford

When thinking of adopting a pet, many people gravitate towards the undeniably adorable puppies and kittens. When in shelters, they’re adopted incredibly quickly and effortlessly. But one thing that many people don’t consider is adopting an older pet. These animals are more often than not overlooked at shelters, waiting all the while for a new home. There are so many incredible benefits to adopting an older pet — below are the top 4!

  1. Predictable personality

 

 

When you adopt a puppy or kitten, you can’t be sure that their personality and needs mesh with your lifestyle. When adopting a pet that’s grown, you can already get a sense of their personality. Maybe they’re a lap cat who just wants to snuggle, or a dog who loves outdoor adventures. When you know what you’re getting, you can pick one that fits with what you’re looking for.

Bonus: Many older pets adopted out of the shelter can develop a new and improved demeanor once they come home. Spending months in a cage in a loud environment can be taxing. But once the pet is brought to a warm, loving home, they are less stressed out and start to come out of their shell. So sometimes, it can only get better!

  1. Trained and housebroken

Most of these pets have had homes before, so someone else has done the hard work of training the pet. Potty training is a lot of work, and for the most part,  if you adopt an adult dog, they’ll be accident-free. These pets are also more likely to know commands and right from wrong (no jumping on the counter!). Some pets are used to the family dynamic, and may already be used to spending time with kids, too!

  1. More calm and relaxed

One word that’s synonymous with puppies and kittens is ENERGETIC. Caring for them is similar to caring for a toddler. Kittens sprint throughout the house at all hours of the night, and puppies will eat almost anything off the floor. While this is just a part of pet ownership, for some that phase can be too much to handle. A pet that’s already grown has calmed down from that level of bursting energy, and are more easy going. Senior cats and dogs still need to be walked and/or played with, but they also appreciate naps, lounging in the sunlight, and being pet.

  1. Extremely grateful

Most importantly, adopting a senior pet is giving the animal comfort in its older years. Many senior animals in shelters don’t have too much time left, and those final years shouldn’t be spent in a cage. They should be spent relaxing with a loving family in a peaceful home.

When you bring these pets home, they are elated and so grateful to you for rescuing them. You’ve giving them a second chance at life.

If you’d like to see more on the impact of adopting a senior pet, take a look at some of the heartwarming links below.

This woman who adopted a senior cat, and he will not sleep unless she’s holding his paw!

This woman dedicates her life to finding homes for senior dogs.

‘No dog should die alone’: Photographer promotes senior pet adoption
Family adopted a 20 year old cat from the shelter, never expected how much love he had left to give
Man Devotes His Life To Adopting Old Dogs Who Can’t Find Forever Homes

5 Feline Diseases that are Preventable by Simple Vaccinations

 

by Traci Raley

cat-kitten-pet-cuteKitten season is upon us again!  That became evident to me last week when my husband brought home an orphaned kitten that he found at the job site where he was working.  It was good timing though.  Our other cats are all over the age of 8, and we had been threatening for awhile to bring home a new kitten to chase them around and keep them on their toes!  Because it’s been awhile since we’ve had a kitten in the house, I decided to do some reading to refresh my memory on kitten healthcare and vaccinations.  

Vaccinations protect cats and dogs against some nasty viral diseases, and can also protect their caregivers against unnecessary vet visits and large vet bills down the road.  The three most common vaccines for kittens are rabies, FVRCP, and FeLV.  By keeping up with your kitten’s vaccination schedule, these are some of the diseases you are protecting her against.  

  1. Rabies

This one is probably the most important, as rabies is zoonotic (it can be passed to humans) and is almost always fatal.  The rabies virus is passed through the saliva of an animal that is already infected, usually through a bite or open wound.  The virus then enters the nerves where it travels to the brain and then the salivary glands.  If your pet becomes infected with rabies, you will first notice changes in his or her behavior, followed by hyperactivity and unprovoked aggression.  This will soon progress into paralysis, respiratory failure, and death.  Recognizable symptoms include difficulty swallowing, excessive salivation, and paralysis in the back legs.  There is no known cure for rabies.

2. Rhinotracheitis (Feline Herpesvirus)

Rhinotracheitis is one of three viral infections covered by the FVRCP vaccine.  It is caused by a strain of the herpesvirus that is unique to felines.  Infection with this virus leads to a highly contagious upper respiratory disease that can be spread to other cats by direct contact or sneezing.  Symptoms can include sneezing, watery eyes, discharge from the nose and eyes, and fever.

3. Feline Calicivirus

This virus is also covered by the FVRCP vaccine.  Like the feline herpesvirus, it causes a severe upper respiratory tract infection, but it can also cause ulcers to form in your cat’s mouth.  It is transmitted by direct contact.

4. Feline Panleukopenia

Panleukopenia is the third disease that is covered by the FVRCP vaccine.  This disease is caused by the feline parvovirus, which is similar to the parvovirus that infects dogs.  This virus will cause vomiting, anorexia, foul-smelling diarrhea and dehydration.

     5. Feline Leukemia

The FeLV vaccine is usually only recommended for outdoor cats or cats who are likely to come in contact with the virus, as it can only be transmitted through close contact.  Symptoms of the disease can include anorexia, weight loss, anemia, diarrhea, and kidney problems.  Cats with feline leukemia need to be housed separately from other cats.  There is no cure for feline leukemia, but symptoms can be managed with anti-viral and other drugs.

More information on these vaccines can be found at http://www.petmd.com/cat/centers/kitten/health/evr_ct_kitten_vaccination_schedule, or by contacting your veterianarian.
Sources

http://www.petmd.com/cat/centers/kitten/health/evr_ct_kitten_vaccination_schedule

Common Diseases of Companion Animals by Alleice Summers, 2002, ISBN 0-323-01260-4

 

Meet Bella Claire!

unnamedBy: Michelle Pincus

Bella Claire is a beautiful 3 ½ year-old, female Pitbull/Hound mix who weighs 40lbs and is as sweet as sweet can be! A petite southern belle, she has a lot of energy and loves to run, play fetch or take casual walks on the beach. She loves car rides and will happily keep you company. When it’s time to take a break and snuggle, Bella Claire will save you a spot on the couch, right next to her! She loves belly rubs and hugs!

Keeping with her southern roots, this belle of the ball is extremely well-mannered and is working on her housetraining and leash walking with her foster. She can sit on command and is overall very obedient and food motivated. Bella Claire is very friendly with adults, older children and well behaved dogs, with proper introductions, of course! At this time, we are unsure about cats.

unnamed (1)Last month, Bella Claire was on the radio!  Check out her “interview” here.

If you are interested in welcoming Bella Claire into your family, please fill out an application at survivortails.org or email adoptions@survivortails.org with any questions.

Please note: We can only adopt in MA, CT and NH.