New Years is upon us and we are all making those resolutions to exercise more and eat better nutritional foods. The goal is for us and our furry family members to be healthier, slimmer, and to prolong our active lives. In 2011 – 2012, 1.63 million families adopted new pets. Now over 63% of American homes have family members that are cats, dogs, fish, birds, and pocket pets.
A number of studies have shown that being responsible for a family pet encourages owners to “take the dog out” for a walk or go to the dog park. Dogs like to have a ball thrown for them or chase a Frisbee. Cats love to frolic behind a toy pulled on a rope and play hide-and-seek in the house. All cats and dogs also look at you with their loving eyes and sit on your lap for a cuddle no matter what your day has been like.
All this unconditional love is very good for family members. Pets brighten your mood; decrease your blood pressure and heart rate. Their presence also increases the good hormones while decreasing your stress hormones. It is important to choose the correct pet for your family. Research different pets and share opinions with your family members. Breed characteristics are important, and especially with dogs you need to consider size, activity lever and space requirements. Your level of stress will not be lower if you pick a pet that becomes a chore because of lack of time and finances to take proper care of its needs: emotional, nutritional, exercise and veterinary upkeep.
Happy New Year from Dr. Johnson and the Team!