From reducing loneliness to keeping people more active, the perks of pet ownership can be felt both physically and emotionally, and are nearly impossible to quantify. Plus, adopting a pet can be a feel-good experience, because you’re not only getting a new best friend, you’re helping an animal in need find a loving forever home. Consider some of these ways adopting a pet can improve overall well-being.
4 Ways Pets Improve Overall Well-Being
(Family Features) Self-care is an important piece of maintaining a happy and healthy life, and adopting a pet can be a beneficial way to improve overall well-being in a number of ways.
From reducing loneliness to keeping people more active, the perks of pet ownership can be felt both physically and emotionally, and are nearly impossible to quantify. Plus, adopting a pet can be a feel-good experience, because you’re not only getting a new best friend, you’re helping an animal in need find a loving forever home.
Consider some of these ways adopting a pet can improve overall well-being. For more information on the benefits of pet adoption, visit Pedigree.com.
Pets Increase Physical Activity
Pets Reduce Feelings of Isolation
Pets Encourage Relationship Building
Pets Help with Stress Reduction
In many of homes, pets are a big part of the family. However, there are several barriers that can prevent people from spending time with their furry friends, including outdated housing rules and limited green space in communities. In celebration of cities that have become more pet-friendly, consider these ways pets can make people and communities happier and healthier.
5 Ways Pets Make Life Happier and Healthier
(Family Features) More than 84 million U.S. homes have a pet, according to the National Pet Owners Survey, and in many of those homes, pets are a big part of the family. However, there are several barriers that can prevent people from spending time with their furry friends, including outdated housing rules and limited green space in communities.
To help create a more pet-friendly world, Mars Petcare introduced the “BETTER CITY FOR PETS” certification, as an extension of its BETTER CITIES FOR PETS program. The certification celebrates cities that have made progress toward becoming more pet-friendly by evaluating them across four categories: shelters, homes, parks and businesses.
“The presence of pets can help make people healthier – both physically and mentally,” said Mark Johnson, president of Mars Petcare North America. “We hope to inspire more cities to take real action that leads to a better quality of life for people and pets in their communities.”
Consider these benefits of pets, along with research from the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition that shows a number of ways pets make people and communities happier and healthier, and visit BetterCitiesForPets.com to learn more and to find out how to help make your city more pet-friendly.
Photos courtesy of FotoliaSOURCE:
No matter the relationship between dog and human, these animals can improve lives in numerous ways. Consider these five ways dogs can make a positive impact on your life and those around you.
5 Ways Dogs Can Improve Lives
(Family Features) Whether playmates or protectors, the human-animal bond is often a powerful connection that goes beyond pure companionship. Dogs typically have many talents and personas – they can be man’s best friend, a canine companion during a difficult time or even a service dog helping veterans and others through daily routines. No matter the relationship between dog and human, these animals can improve lives in numerous ways.
Consider these five ways dogs can make a positive impact on your life and those around you, and find more information at bettercitiesforpets.com.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
It’s no surprise that dog owners are more likely to get out and take a walk around the neighborhood. In fact, taking a quick walk with your dog a few times each week can increase general health and may help reduce rates of obesity.
Photo courtesy of Fotolia
If you’re new in town or looking for new friends, use your walks as an opportunity to meet your neighbors and engage with other dogs. Dogs can help make easy introductions to other pet owners and non-pet owners alike, and even potentially help you find your next pet-sitter.
Some animals are trained to provide therapeutic aid and wellbeing. Therapy and facility dogs help normalize environments, such as hospitals and universities, by alleviating fear and giving comfort during difficult experiences. For example, Mars Petcare’s Better Cities For Pets initiative is working to bring the healing power of pets to more children and families nationwide, including a partnership with Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt to support a dedicated facility dog and staff position.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Service dogs can help veterans and others who suffer from post-traumatic stress – yet people may be unprepared to accommodate the unique needs of service dogs. To help educate people on how to interact with an individual who has a service dog, American Humane, which has helped the U.S. military and military animals for 100 years, created a wealth of resources, including these informational videos.
Photo courtesy of iStock
Making the office a pet-friendly zone has its perks. In fact, a Mars Petcare survey shows that having furry friends around the office boosts morale and lessens anxiety, giving you even more of a reason to spend all day, every day, with your pet.SOURCE:
Farmers use antibiotics in farm animals for the same reason antibiotics are used in people – to treat, control and prevent disease that causes pain and suffering.
The Importance of Animal Antibiotics
Farmers use antibiotics in farm animals for the same reason antibiotics are used in people – to treat, control and prevent disease that causes pain and suffering. Keeping farm animals healthy helps improve food safety for all of us by reducing bacteria in the food supply. Learn more about the benefits of treating animals with antibiotics at animalantibiotics.org.SOURCE:
Phibro Animal Antibiotics
Ever since the day the first feline became a house cat, destructive cat scratching has plagued owners. All the affection and loving care owners shower upon their cats can feel like wasted energy when the thanks they get looks more like hatred: shredded furniture, carpet and curtains.
Your Cat’s Scratch Has Met Its Match
Why cats scratch and how to safely stop it
(Family Features) Ever since the day the first feline became a house cat, destructive cat scratching has plagued owners. All the affection and loving care owners shower upon their cats can feel like wasted energy when the thanks they get looks more like hatred: shredded furniture, carpet and curtains.
It’s a normal human response to be angry or frustrated about damage inflicted by cats’ scratching, but equally normal is a cat’s need to scratch. Cat scratching is a behavior that fulfills both physical and emotional needs. Cats scratch to stretch their bodies, maintain their hunting and climbing skills, groom their claws and mark their territory, showing they’re in a safe space.
However, these behaviors cats exhibit to establish a safe living space can be anything but pleasant for their human companions. This can lead frustrated owners to take drastic measures to modify behavior, but those decisions can be risky, especially when it comes to a permanent and potentially harmful practice like declawing.
Many pet owners believe that declawing their cats is a harmless and quick fix for unwanted scratching, similar to trimming one’s nails. However, if a declawing procedure were performed on a human being, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle.
“Not only does the practice cause pain, it removes an important self-defense tool and the surgery itself poses risks related to anesthesia and infection,” said Dr. Valarie V. Tynes, president of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, licensed veterinarian and veterinary services specialist at Ceva Animal Health. “All of this can lead to behavioral issues that may be worse than a shredded couch.”
Declawing is an irreversible measure to address a normal behavioral issue in cats. Declawed cats may be less likely to use a litter box, more likely to bite and the disruption of the natural scratching behavior can cause lasting physiological problems.
That sentiment is echoed by national organizations such as the American Association for Feline Practitioners, which deems the practice of declawing an ethically controversial procedure that is not medically necessary in most instances. In fact, declawing cats is now illegal in several U.S. cities.
Find alternatives to declawing, and cat-scratching solutions, at savethecouches.com.
5 Humane Alternatives to Declawing
There are numerous safe and painless alternatives to declawing, including these ideas from the pet behavior experts at Ceva Animal Health:
1. Routinely trim nails. Regular nail care is an important part of general care and hygiene for your cat, but it can also help prevent scratching damage by eliminating the sharp, destructive claw tips. Properly trimmed nails are less likely to snag or split, and cats with well-trimmed nails are less likely to resort to scratching as part of their own self-grooming rituals.
2. Create scratch-friendly zones. Keeping cats from scratching areas you don’t want them to bother is far more likely if you provide areas where they can scratch at will, such as scratching pads and posts. Pair these scratching areas with a product such as Feliscratch by Feliway, which is clinically proven to prevent destructive scratching by redirecting cats to scratch in the right place. Cats are attracted to the drug-free, naturally derived product and will feel compelled to scratch where it’s applied, leaving that chair or couch alone.
“Cat owners can now have damage-free home decor without putting their cats through the stress and potential physical harm of the painful declawing procedure,” Tynes said.
3. Reinforce off-limits areas. Cats are highly tactile, so applying textured materials like double-sided sticky tape or rough, crinkly aluminum foil to areas you don’t want scratched can be an effective deterrent.
4. Consult a behaviorist. Not all cases have easy answers, but an expert with experience in animal behavior can provide guidance based specifically on your cat’s personality and circumstances to help create a custom solution.
5. Eliminate negative reinforcements. Avoid punishing your cat for undesirable behavior. This includes shouting, spraying with water or swatting your cat. Punishment can increase stress and anxiety. It can make the problem worse and may even make your cat afraid of you.
DIY Scratching Post
Designating a spot for your cat to safely scratch is one of the most effective ways to minimize damage to your possessions. A homemade scratching post is a quick and easy project.
1. Cut foot-long length of 4-by-4-inch wood and a 1-foot square piece of plywood. The exact sizes can vary, but these are good starting points that you can adjust up or down, depending on your space.
2. Sand away splinters and rough edges.
3. Add a sturdy fabric wrap or paint to lend aesthetic appeal to the plywood base.
4. Wrap the post tightly with heavy-gauge rope or carpet scraps (or both), securing tightly with glue and reinforcing with a staple gun.
5. Securely attach the post to the base using a long bolt.
6. Place the post in an area your cat enjoys spending time, and consider adding a pheromone therapy spray to attract your cat to the post.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Women on the sofa with black cat)SOURCE:
Ceva Animal Health
(BPT) - Approximately 48 million Americans face food insecurity every day, according to Feeding America, a non-profit organization and network of more than 200 food banks. That means they, and their pets, face uncertain access to a sufficient amount of affordable, healthy food.
"People who face food insecurity should not have to sacrifice the unconditional love and companionship pets bring to their lives," says Joann Fuller, U.S. Shelter Engagement Manager for Hill's Pet Nutrition. "Most food pantries also accept pet food donations. So when you drop off a bag of dog or cat food, you're helping a family in need take care of their best friend."
Recognizing the need to provide year-round help for families and pets in need, Hill's has partnered with VCA Charities, the philanthropic arm of VCA Hospitals, to support the organization's Pet Food Pantry program. The program's goal is to provide healthy, nutritious pet food to families that could not otherwise afford it. Created in 2010 in Venice, California, the program and participating pantries have served more than 1.5 million meals to pets in 30 locations across the U.S. and Canada.
"Many people feel financially tapped out after the holidays, but helping families and pets in need doesn't have to cost a lot," Fuller says.
Here are six simple ways you can help families in need care for their pets:
*Have you ever bought a bag or case of pet food your pet wouldn't eat? Consider donating it to your local food pantry.
*Many pantries provide volunteers with printed paper bags to use in gathering food donations. Ask your local food pantry for some donation bags and drop them off at homes in your neighborhood. Include a note asking for pet food donations and let your neighbors know when you'll be back to pick up the filled bags and deliver them to the food pantry.
*Contact your local homeless shelter to find out what they need to help care for the pets of the homeless people in your community. Donating extra blankets and pet sweaters could help keep those pets warm throughout the winter.
*Shelters for victims of domestic violence may need help with temporary housing for pets of families in transition. Contact your local shelter to see if they have a fostering program that needs volunteers.
*Seniors who no longer drive may have trouble accessing regular veterinary care for their pets. Check with your local senior center or county's department of senior services to see if you can volunteer to drive seniors and their pets to veterinary appointments.
*Contact your veterinary clinic or others in your area to see if they have programs in place to provide free or reduced-cost medical care to pets in need. You may be able to donate cash or supplies, or simply volunteer your time.
"When families are struggling with food insecurity, homelessness, financial hardship or transition, they need the unconditional love of their pets more than ever," Fuller says. "By helping provide for pets, you're also doing something good for the humans who love them - and that's something you can feel good about all year long."
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