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Friday, 21 August 2009

PET CARE (PART 1)

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Pet Stairs

When we think of pets we don’t often consider the idea of stairs specially designed just for them. If you are the owner of a dog or a cat you may find yourself having to pick them up to set them on a chair so they can look out a window. With the use of pet stairs your animal will be able to comfortably move onto the furniture at their own convenience.

Animals can experience injuries just as human beings do. As dogs and cats age their joints can develop arthritis and they aren’t as mobile as they once were.

Without the use of pet stairs an animal will need to jump to get up on a piece of furniture. This can cause a neck or a back injury. Without the aid of vocalization you may not realize that your pet is in pain until the damage is permanent. When a dog or a cat sustains such an injury and it’s left untreated it can lead to serious complications including an inability to run and a permanent limp.

Pet stairs also prevent excessive stress on the bones or the joints of your animal. If a dog or a cat is overweight and they jump to get on and off the furniture that puts a great deal of pressure on the animal’s skeletal system.

With the use of pet stairs your animal can easily move up and down. You simply place the stairs in front of the item that you want the dog or cat to have access to and they’ll be able to utilize it immediately.

There are several different designs of pet stairs available. One of the most popular types of pet stairs is constructed with puppies in mind. When a dog is small it can be impossible for it to jump onto the furniture. This means the owner has to lift the dog up and down repeatedly. For most people this chore can become tiresome quickly.

With the use pet stairs, the puppy can then move on and off the furniture with ease. You simply choose the piece of furniture you want the puppy to have access to, be it a chair or a bed and allow the puppy to utilize the stairs. This also helps the animal gain a sense of independence and they will become familiar with that particular piece of furniture which means that they are more likely to migrate to it as a resting place as they mature.

Pet stairs are available in different sizes depending on the size of your pet. You’ll need to choose the pet stair that can accommodate the weight of your own dog or cat. They are made from high density foam that is covered with a fabric. Some pet stairs allow you to remove the fabric so that you can clean it. They are also available in a variety of colors so that they will complement the room you place them in.

Purchasing pet stairs is a wonderful way to ensure the continued health of your pet. You’ll no longer have to worry about them falling while jumping onto or off of the furniture.

Pet Supply – More Than Food Bowls

Your pet supply may consist of a variety of items for a variety of pets. There are many different kinds of pets, and they all have unique needs and personalities. You may have more than one kind of pet, or unusual pets. Then you have an even bigger array of pet supply items.

The basics in pet supply needs are pretty obvious. No matter what kind of pet you have, you have to meet its basic needs. You have to have feed, and something to feed and water your pet out of. For dogs and cats, this chore has been made easier by pet supply manufacturers. You can now purchase large canisters with bowls attached to the bottoms. It is the same principal that made silos work, but on a smaller scale. But it cuts the work down for you so that you don’t have to feed as often.

There are many places that you can get all of your pet supply needs. There are even stores that are dedicated solely to this purpose. These are great places to get items that you never even knew you needed. You know – those things that you’ve never heard of, but once you see them you buy them.

Farm supply stores can be a great place for your pet supply needs. Because these stores are usually based on wholesaling, they are often cheaper than other places. The downside is that you may have to buy larger quantities than you intended. But if you plan on keeping your pet, it may be worth it in the long run.

Online auction sites can be great places to buy some pet supply needs. For those items that you don’t have to buy over and over and are higher priced items, this is a great way to get a bargain. As with other items on auction sites, these items may be a great deal if not many people bid on them. One thing that you need to remember is to check shipping prices. It may seem like a great deal until you add in shipping. Find all costs before buying.

Some of your pet supply needs can be found at any of your general retailers. Food, dishes, shampoos, and toys are a few of many items to be found. One thing that you need to make sure you buy with dogs or cats is a collar. Make sure that you keep current tags on your pets. These are your best chance for recovering a lost pet, and therefore one of the most important things on your pet supply list.

Pet Therapy For Depression

Who could dispute that animals can have a positive effect on emotional well-being? With research being conducted into the field of alternative medicine on an on-going basis, more and more people are beginning to realize the cathartic effects that animals are having on individuals well-being, especially so in those patients suffering with depression.

While some people recover from depression using medications alone, there are many others, who would prefer to use a combination of alternative therapies to try to alleviate the symptoms of depression. One of these treatments being studied is ‘Pet Therapy’, but what is this alternative and how could it help?

Many scientists have spent endless hours looking into the different types of therapy available for treating depression as an illness; ‘Pet Therapy’ has been concluded as one of these therapies. Animals have long been recognized as being a positive force in the healing process.

Dogs notably have a calming and therapeutic effect on people. They can help individuals to cope with the emotional issues related to their illness. They also offer physical contact with another living creature and help to divert a person's attention from their pressing daily problems.

Owning a dog brings about a sense of responsibility. Dogs rely on their owners for feeding, walking, attention and love. What better excuse for a depressed person to get out of bed in the morning?

Dogs love almost everyone without any degree of prejudice or rejection. You do not need to speak any type of language to communicate with a four-legged friend. Give them a treat, tickle their tummy and they will love you without bounds.

Dogs are aware of illness and sadness and genuinely want to provide companionship and comfort; they show an abundance of intelligence and are both intuitive and compassionate. Any dog owner will relate and agree with me when I say that it is a warm feeling when their dog can detect their sorrow and lick their tears away.

Pet Therapy can facilitate many positive changes one such example being increased socialization skills. Animals can be used as part of group therapy programs to encourage communication and increase the ability to focus.

Helping to develop a person’s self-esteem and reducing their loneliness and anxiety are just some potential benefits of individual-animal therapy.

The bond between humans and animals is demonstrated every day in millions of homes around the world. It is also becoming a powerful, common mode of therapy in many facilities such as hospitals, schools and residential homes.

While it is difficult to measure and quantify the benefits of dog therapy with hard scientific fact, there is no question that the magical interaction possible between animal and human is unmistakable.

Tears can be dried. Scowls transform into smiles. Silence is broken and lastly but not least importantly loneliness and isolation can be ejected from a person through mere touch and cuddles.

Dogs offer their owner’s absolute and unconditional love and a level of boundless patience that no human could ever possibly give. The love of a dog is unlimited, what better form of alternative therapy could there be?


Pet Travel Carriers: A Necessity When You Are on the Go

Whether you're taking a trip to your local veterinarian or a trip across country, how to transport your pets is always a consideration. The right pet travel carriers can make your journey less stressful for your beloved pets and less of a hassle for you. But what constitutes ideal dog carriers, cat carriers, and bird carriers? That depends upon your preferences, but there are many available from which to choose.

Pet Wheeled Carriers

Typically, a pet wheeled carrier has a handle that makes it easy to pull, and some convert to backpacks, car seats and beds. If you're looking for a multitasking wheeled dog carrier, make sure that it is soft sided, is ergonomically contoured with padded shoulder straps, and includes a safety strap that attaches to your dog's collar. Most importantly, be sure to purchase the proper size: small pet carriers are typically ideal for dogs up to 8 pounds; medium pet carriers are good for dogs up to 15 pounds; and large holds dogs up to 30 pounds. Keep in mind that the weight of your pet is not the only factor in choosing the properly sized pet carrier; the critical question you should ask yourself is whether or not your dog will be comfortable in the container.

While some pet wheeled carriers resemble luggage, others resemble baby strollers. You can find heavy-duty pet strollers that, like baby strollers, have push-button folding for flat storage. Look for a stroller that has both front and back zippered entrances, as well as a mesh ventilated pet compartment. For safety's sake, select one that has front suspension and locking brakes. Strollers are ideal for older or ill pets, and work well for puppies and kittens, as well as other small animals.

Front Pet Carriers

A front pet carrier is a styled like a vest, and allows you to carry your pet hands-free wherever you go. Pet front carriers are ideal for virtually any small animal, from dogs and cats to rabbits and ferrets. You can cuddle your pet in the kangaroo pouch of a pet front carrier and keep your animal close to your heart.

When shopping for a pet front carrier, look for one with adjustable shoulder straps, a waist strap for stability, a safety leash collar attachment, and a firm padded bottom to keep your pet comfortable. If your pet likes to "hang loose," models have openings for legs and the tail.

Pet Travel Carrier Totes

Today, of course, pet totes are all the rage, and you can choose from among any number of utilitarian or designer pet carriers. From those made out of straw to those made out of faux crocodile leather, there is a designer pet carrier to complement every outfit in your wardrobe. When shopping for a pet tote, make sure to select one that is easy to open and that has proper ventilation. Gripper feet on the bottom help keep the tote from sliding around, while an extra pocket comes in handy for holding pet essentials.

Bird Carrier

If you're a bird owner, have you ever considered taking your bird on an outdoor adventure? Backpack bird carriers are smaller than birdcages, but allow you to take your pet on hikes, bike rides, and boating trips, as well as to the veterinarian. When shopping for bird carriers, look for a strong, stainless steel cage with removable and replaceable perches. Make sure that the shoulder straps are padded for your comfort, and that the cage door loads from the back for extra safety.

Pet travel carriers are a necessity, but they can also add some style and adventure to your life. Best of all, you'll be able to take Max or Princess with you to more places than ever before!

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Pet Treat Management & The Best Treat You Can Offer

Edible Treats
Pets just love food treats, almost like the way most of us who love junk food. But these treats should be offered with discretion.

Many treats have higher sugar or fat content than staple diet food. For example, treat sticks for rodents usually have more processed sugar than the hay, grasses, pellets and vegetables that should actually form the bulk of their diet. Snack treats such as biscuits for dogs and cats often have a higher fat content than regular diet also.

If a pet gets hooked on these treats, partly because of their owners who overly feed them with such treats. The pet may eat less of, or even refuse altogether its staple diet and demand more of the snacks. This is a big health issue problems and will lead to troubles like obesity, diabetes and dental problems.

For your information, even raw vegetables for rodents should be carefully selected. For instance, some rabbits and guinea pigs get addicted to the sweetness of carrot or the juiciness of lettuce and might refuse other type of vegetables, leading to malnourishment or diarrhea.

Treat Management – How Often?
How often is too often? This can largely depend on the species, the individual animal’s health, age, activity level, size of the treat and the quality of the staple diet.

As a general guideline, it is safe to say that daily treats are too much, unless each portion is broken into small pieces and given to him once a day. Otherwise, give a regular-size treat once or twice a week at most.

If you are using treats to train your pet, especially dogs. Make sure to break your treats into smaller pieces and not to give excessively such that your dog refuses or fail to finish his daily diet. If this happens, you will know that you have over feed him.

The Best Treat
The best treats you can give to your pets are your time, attention, affection and energy. These treats are more valuable than luxurious housing or 5-star desserts, as time and love will make an animal companion bloom while feeling safe and secure.

This means that animals which need to be walked, such as dogs, should be taken out daily. Most dogs love walks as they sniff out all the exciting scents and exploring new routes. By giving your dog the walk-treat, it’s good exercise for you too!

Give attention to your pet by spending time stroking, grooming and talking to him gently. Any animals that have learn to trust its owners will enjoy being patted, tummy-scratched, stroked and brushed. Be sure to look out for any unusual behavior and signs of ill-health, and see a vet if necessary.

Make an effort to keep your pet’s living environment clean, stress-free and safe. Wash bedding, clean enclosures and remove dangerous items that may harm your pet.

Treats are still treats and will never ever be able to replace the affection, care and concern that you can offer to your pet. Never is and never will. Make some extra effort to care for your pet today and your pet will appreciate it.

Pets- What You Should Know About Boarding Your Dog


It is a well-known fact that many consider dogs as man’s best friend. There are times, however, when even best friends must part ways – even if for a brief period of time only. Even if dog lovers abound all over the world, there are places and instances that simply do not allow pets. In situations like these, you just might have to leave your dog.

Boarding is becoming an increasingly common option for dog owners these days. More and more institutions are starting to offer boarding services to dog owners. Yet before deciding to leave your dog in a kennel, there are some things to take into consideration.


The first thing to bear in mind is start boarding your dog early. Just like their human counterparts, dogs do feel some sort of separation anxiety. Dogs that have had boarding experience before they are 5 years old tend to adjust better to kennel conditions as they may still have memories of “litter socialization.”

Choosing the right kennel to board your dog is not a joking matter. The first thing you should do is search your local yellow pages for available boarding institutions and then arrange for a personal visit to each one of them. Evaluate the kennels based on several factors. The overall appearance of the kennel is important. Take note of the cleanliness of the area. Daily cleaning is a must to ensure your dog’s health while you are absent. Make sure that even if the kennels have a no visitors policy (in the areas where the dogs are housed), you will be given the chance to at least view where your dog will stay.

Security is a very important consideration. You will want to rest assured that your dog will be taken care of and will not have the chance to escape. The tendency for pets is to look for their owners when they are not around. Thus you must make sure that the kennel has tight security regarding this matter.

Your dog’s safety is of utmost importance. Inspect his boarding area and see to it that there are no potential harmful objects or substances. It is also necessary for your dog to be alone in his temporary home. Stress might arise due to other pets housed in the kennels. Boarders should have solid dividers in between them. This is especially important for male dogs, which may be more aggressive than others.

Other important considerations regarding the living quarters are temperature, bedding, ventilation, and lighting. Try to choose a kennel with conditions as close to your dog’s normal living conditions as much as possible. Ensure that your dog is fed the proper food and given the right amount of water. If your dog needs regular exercise, look into the facilities of the boarding institution as well.

Leaving your dog, even if only for a few days, is a serious matter. Choosing the right kennel for him or her may take a chunk out of your busy schedule but it is better to ensure his or her comfort rather than to subject him or her to undue stress.


Pets


One night I came home from work to find our house in disarray. The pungent scent of urine filled the air. Pillows were scattered everywhere, their stuffing torn out. Vases and other knickknacks were reduced to mere shards of porcelain and glass. Some of my books were ripped to shreds. At first I thought that my apartment had been burglarized but I realized that the burglars couldn't have missed seeing the flat screen television, DVD player and speakers prominently displayed in the living room. The one thing missing was my dog, a large Labrador retriever named Bob. I worriedly searched the rest of the apartment and found nothing else amiss. Upon entering my bedroom, I found Bob under the bed chewing one of my shoes. If that wasn't bad enough, I saw a pile of dog stool right on my pillow. As I scolded him for making a mess, I wondered why a normally well-behaved dog like Bob could make such a mess. That's when I learned about pet separation anxiety.

Pet separation anxiety manifests itself in different ways. They can be destructive, as Bob was, or choose to disturb your neighbors with a fit of loud barking and whining. They may also spread their stool and urine in the most unexpected places, such as the inside of your favorite pair of shoes or all over your clothes. They chew and scratch on furniture without compunction. They tend to destroy things that you frequntly use and carry your scent, and they do all these things as soon as you leave them alone. They are also wildly excited to see you when you get back, incessantly demanding your attention.

But what can cause this anxiety in our beloved pets? One of the most common reasons is when pets are frequently left alone, they get bored. They may also feel abandoned by their owners. The bad behavior that they manifest is merely a cry for much needed attention.

So what can you do about it? Teach your pet to recognize I cues signaling your departure, such as picking up your keys and interact with them on your terms and not when they demand it. Try increasing the amount of exercise that your pet gets, but if your time is limited you may want to consider hiring someone to walk your pet. Add more toys for it to chew. During the hours that you are away at work, you might want to hire a dog sitter or putting your pet in daycare. If you have the space, you can set aside an area for your pet. Crates and pens are available in different sizes and materials. Choose one suitable to the size and strength of your pet.

In case of serious separation anxiety cases, consult your veterinarian. They may be able to suggest other available therapies or medication for your pet. You can also consult with pet trainers and do research in print or online for ways on how to train your pet to accept your absence. Internet forums for pet owners can also be a valuable tool for learning effective techniques in handling your pet's separation anxiety.

But most of all, treat your pet with love and sensitivity. Remember that your pet is only acting out what it cannot verbalize. With a little help, you and your pet can live an anxiety-free existence.


Pets - is their a cure?

Keeping pets is strange when you think about it – you get an animal to come and stay in your house with you, you feed it, you give it everything it needs, and you even clean up after it. Yet, since prehistoric times, people have kept pets. What do they get out of it?

People’s reasons for getting pets vary widely, but there are a few main reasons you can identify. Children are often bored and want a pet to play with, while older people can get lonely and want a pet to keep them company.

So which pet is right for you? Well, the pets that people tend to get on with best are the ones that are most like them.

The biggest division is between ‘dog people’ and ‘cat people’, and it’s a definite question of personality. Dogs are loyal creatures that want to depend on you and be taken care of, while cats are more independent, giving affection on their own terms. If you like to give and receive unconditional affection then you should probably get a dog – and if you think what I just said was stupid and sappy, then the chances are you’re more of a cat person.

Of course, there are plenty of other animals to choose from. Birds like budgies, for example, are very playful and interesting, while not requiring you to take on as much responsibility as you would with a dog, for example. If you just want your pet to look nice and not to very much, then you can get tropical fish – a good pet if you’re busy, although hardly the most exciting thing to own.

Finally, if you’re a bit of a quirky sort, then you might consider a more unusual pet. All sorts of strange animals can be kept as pets, from lizards like turtles and snakes to insects like slugs and snails. Little rodents like hamsters are popular, and there are plenty to choose from – ever fancied having a chipmunk? If you get a wild animal licence, you might even be able to keep big zoo animals like tigers and monkeys… scary, I know. Really, the only limit is your imagination.

Pets - now legally protected

We buy our pets fancy clothes, outlandish designer dog accessories, a custom made pet carrier or jeweled dog collars; often paying more than we would if buying for ourselves. Now the legal profession has become involved to protect our four legged friends.

According to an article in a law review journal (Jarva), one weekend in November 2004, some 200 people convened at Yale Law School with a singular purpose: identifying ways of strengthening animal protection laws through the legislatures and courts. These individuals gathered from across the country and overseas.

There were lawyers, professors, and law students who, like many Americans, are convinced that animals are inherently valuable and deserving of humane treatment. However they go considerably furtherin their belief that all nonhuman animals are equally important and entitled to greater protections under the law.

The article goes further to say that some conference attendees may well balk at the "animal rightist" label, opting for the less inflammatory "animal protectionist" moniker instead. But whatever their ideological nuances, they are the legally savvy wing of a social movement determined on using the courts and legislatures to elevate the status of animals in society.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and Yale Law School sponsored a conference titled "The Future of Animal Law," held Nov. 5-7. Headquartered in Petaluma, California. ALDF boasts some 100,000 members and has, for the past 25 years, worked for stronger enforcement of anticruelty laws.

The field of animal law has grown dramatically over recent years,and many want it to grow even more. There is a hope thatanimal law be taught in every American Bar Association-accredited law school,that animal law practices abound, and every judge and district attorney be educated about animal law.
New laws and new pet meds There is also a longstanding cultural norm against harming animals—the nation's first anticruelty statute was passed in 1867 in New York with the help of Henry Bergh, founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

"A hundred-plus years ago, our legal system recognized that animals are different. They have interests; they can feel pain; and we as a society ought to mitigate that pain, where possible," observed conference speaker and Michigan State University College of Law professor, David Favre. (Maybe that's why we spend so much online for pet meds).

It can be argued that many animals in the United States already do have rights, although they are protections in the narrowest sense; anticruelty statutes, for example, criminalize animal abuse. A provision of the federal Animal Welfare Act requires that dogs used for research be given regular opportunities for exercise. The Endangered Species Act protects the
Florida panther and other rare wildlife from being hunted to extinction.

For people who enjoy them, pets add enormous value to life. Most pet lovers will tell you that while animals don't replace the benefits of a healthy human relationship, they supplement life in ways that no other satisfaction can provide. It's rational for humans to treat pets among their highest values, assuming those pets bring something to the individual human's life.

That's one reason new laws are being sought to protect our animals and to recognize the loss one suffers when something bad happens to our pets. And, it is also because of that belief—animals do indeed add to our enjoyment of life—that we indulge our pets by buying a wide variety of specialized (and often extravagant items for Fido and Fluffy.

For many proud pet owners computers have become the pet shopping mall, with everything from jeweled dog collars and nutritious pet food to custom fit pet doors and luxurious dog beds and even a personalized pet memorial - all available online and at the click of a mouse.

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Pets - The Love That Exists Between Pets And Their Owners

Abraham Lincoln said, "I care not for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the
better for it." Love between the pet and the owner has been immortalized by many a legends. Many novels described the love and trust that an animal and the owner shares. So did many movies. Why even you or me would have had a pet at some point of time in our lives and loved our association with it. It is probably one of the purest relationships to experience for anybody.

We talk to our pets and they listen. They give us unconditional love and await our attention. They amuse us and make us feel good about ourselves. As Samuel Butler famously said, "The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too."

After a hard day's work, the moment your dog runs to you when you are home wipes off the day's fatigue. There are innumerable incidents of where a dog saved his owner or a cat woke up her owner when there was a fire in the house. Do pets have psychic power? They do. They can understand when you are standing at the door or when you are depressed. Pets fill in that void in our lives that no human relationship can fulfill.

Medical research says that seniors who own dogs visit a doctor less than who do not. It is a proven fact that pet owners have lower blood pressure or that the companionship of a pet helps families and people cope with serious illness. Playing with your pet burns up to 250 calories an hour. There are dogs that assist blind people in their daily lives and there are dogs that help police force in their mission to protect people. George Salpiatro, Connecticut lost his vision. He received two-year old Karl, a German shepherd as his assistant dog. As Salpiatro says, "I like to tell people, on January 2, 1995, my opportunity to be equal to others came with four legs and a tail that wags!"

But there would probably be fewer people who would own a pet because of the above mentioned reasons. People who own pets simply love their pets and any and every benefit that they get because of the association is just a byproduct. And it is true that once a pet lover always a pet lover.

When a pet passes on we feel a huge loss that seems incomprehensible. It gets difficult to console the children in the family. Just as a loss of a family member pains us, losing a pet how much ever inevitable it might be seems difficult to cope with. We look for ways to immortalize our lost pet. It is important that we treat the memory of the pet with dignity. That is probably the first step that we can take in our grieving process.

Pets: Choosing A Groomer

Different pets have vastly different grooming needs. Some pets need a lot more grooming than others. The majority of animals will need some kind of grooming service at some stage of their lives. Whether it's bathing or trimming, or even a large matt that needs to be removed - there are some things that need to be done by professionals.

Choosing a groomer is not just a matter of opening the phonebook however, there are just too many choices. But when choosing groomers some standards cannot be negotiated. You want the best for your pet and need to be sure you can safely place your trust in your chosen groomer.

Before sending your beloved pet to a grooming service - here are some useful tips to consider when it comes to choosing the right service for you.

1. References: This is the most important of the criteria! A simple way to make sure you choosing right is just to ask your friends/family where they take their animals. Word of mouth works well. Look online to see if there's any evidence of good work or happy clients.

2. Their level of experience: Do they have some kind of qualification? Are they affiliated with any grooming associations? If your pet has exotic or unusual needs ask them if they've dealt with - for example a French treatment. Ask if they have any photo albums of their work or happy clients they could refer you to.

3. Staying there: Many places allow you to stay with your pet while they do their work. A trustworthy establishment should have no problems with letting you stay - and even if you don't intend to stay - their reaction to the question will tell you a lot.

4. Evaluate their place of business: is it clean and well lit. Does it give a good impression? Are the animals there happy and calm? Does the establishment have a happy feel to it?

5. Of course your own pets' reaction will also have a lot to do with whether you choose a groomer. If your pet becomes upset or reacts badly to them - find another groomer. Groomers should handle your pet gently.

The best places love your animal as much as you do and treat them well. And if you aren't happy with their service - find someone else. You wouldn't leave your children with just anybody - why should your pets be any different. Take your time while choosing - it'll be time well spent.


Pets Can Greatly Improve Your Health

Having a pet is one of the healthiest investments you can make to your long-term health and happiness. We know that having a pet enrichs our lives, and scientific studies in the last decade, have clearly shown how companion animals benefit both our bodies and our minds. Apart from lazy days in the sun, walking, fetching, and guaranteed smiles throughout the day, pets provide health benefits that extend far into the body and mind, such as lower blood pressure, heart rate, anxiety level as well as providing pet owners with both consistent behavior and offering unconditional love and affection. Pets in return, respond well to stability and the love and affection pet owners lavish upon them.

Pets have been known to improve the lives of pet owners, significantly benefiting health, not only for the young and families, but also for the elderly. Pets may help elderly owners live longer, healthier and ultimately, more enjoyable lives. The Journal of the American Geriartics Society published an article in May 1999 showing how independently living seniors with pets, tend to have better physical strength and overall mental health and wellbeing than seniors that do not have pets. They are more active, generally happier, cope better with stress, and have significantly lower blood pressure.

It would seem that taking care of a pet would be a lot of work. In fact, it is that work, that maintenance - walking, feeding, grooming, fresh water, playing and petting, that lowers the heart rate, decreases anxiety and stress levels, increases serotonin and the release of beta-endorphins in pet owners. Even just getting up to open the door for a dog to be let in or out, or changing the water for the kitty, require some cardiovascular exercise, and increase joint flexibility and keep joints limber and agile. Consistent minor exercise like this, ensures healthier bodies for pet owners.

Many of the benefits of having a pet are less tangible. Pets allow for physical contact and offer consistent companionship, as well as unconditional love. They act as a support system for older people without homes or families or close friends. People with pets generally remain more stable emotionally during crises than people without pets. Pets also offer protection socially from isolation, separation anxiety for people in nursing homes, and for people whodon't have as much opportunity to interact with other people.

Pets help elders perform daily functions and stick to regular routines such as getting up every day, buying groceries and going outside of their homes - all necessary physical, emotional, and social activities, that help elderly people active, motivated to eat and sleep, and comfortable in their environments and with themselves. Through these interactions, pets enable elders to interact with others more frequently, which lowers depression and anxiety, both frequent medical problems facing elders today.

Pets Help Heal

Therapy dogs are dogs that are canine good citizens and are well trained and of a nature that is suitable for interaction with humans who are unwell. Studies have shown that interaction with pets and the special bonding it brings, helps the sick heal faster and trauma patients are known to come out of silence, grieving, or shock by interacting with pets.

An innovative program set up by Therapy Dogs International is “children reading to dogs.” Handlers and their dogs visit libraries and schools regularly and interact with children who have trouble reading. The dogs make friends with children who are encouraged to read the dog a story. The friendship and bonding between the child and dog as well as the non judgmental attitude of the happy animal encourages the child to read aloud to the dog who sits with a smile on his face and a wag in his tail. The interaction instills confidence in the child as well as improved learning.

Therapy dogs also provide valuable relief during disasters by helping affected families and persons as also relief workers. The animals provide comfort and an understanding that is invaluable in sad situations. Petting and hugging or grooming the dogs provides release of anxiety and stress. Dogs help heal and overcome problems and grief. It is unbelievable the kind of understanding a dog can show. So, dogs regularly work at bombing sites, earthquake affected areas as well as places whether flood or hurricanes have struck.

There are therapy dogs who regularly visit hospitals, old age homes, and nursing homes to help heal. The interaction with dogs brings a smile to face of patients and many dogs participate in physical therapy programs as well as in children’s wards where there are many children fighting illnesses. The dogs instill a positive attitude in patients and many look forward to the visit each day. Patients are encouraged to talk to the dogs, pet them, or even groom them. Bonding with the dogs speeds up healing and brings happiness. Many of the dogs are natural clowns and perform tricks to entertain the sick.

To be a therapy dog, both the handler and dog have to undergo special training, be of good health, be well groomed, and be dedicated to the cause. The dog must have a clear health certification and not be shedding his coat or have any allergies. The dog needs to be calm and obedient as he will have to take hospital activities and noise in his stride. The handler will need to devote time in training the dog, enjoy the work, and take insurance against unforeseen accidents. Owners interested in pet-therapy work will need to register with a group in the area where they live and find out from their dog club or trainer whether the dog they have is of a suitable nature and breed to be a good and successful therapy dog.

Therapy dogs show great patience, love, and understanding and the interaction is magical as even terminally ill patients are known to get better. Dogs boost morale, provide affiliation and touch, encourage love and communication, stimulate activity and exercise, help patients deal with depression, loss, and grief, and lower hypertension as well as blood sugar levels.

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