APR 09, 2021 4:10 PM PDT

Celebrating National Pet Day

WRITTEN BY: Tiffany Dazet

Sunday, April 11, is National Pet Day! From pandemic companions to viral videos, pets are a huge part of our lives. Dogs, cats, small mammals, and even large mammals like horses add so much joy to our lives, and science has proven the many benefits of pet ownership.

According to the CDC, bonds between humans and animals may increase fitness, lower stress, and create overall happiness. More specifically, the CDC reports that walking or playing with pets not only gets humans outside to exercise and socialize but also can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels.

Choosing the right pet for your household and lifestyle is essential, and the CDC recommends researching before committing to a specific animal. Questions about the pet’s longevity, diet, exercise requirements, veterinary expenses, and habitat needs are relevant issues to learn more about. If you’re one of the 12 million households to have added a pet to the family during the pandemic, here are some tips on successfully introducing them into your home from Good Morning America.

While pets enrich our lives in various ways, considerations regarding animal-related diseases should be taken when choosing a companion. The CDC reports that children younger than five years of age, those with weaker immune systems, and people older than 65 are at a higher risk of becoming infected with a zoonotic disease. According to CDC recommendations, reptiles, amphibians, and backyard poultry are not suitable pet options for households with children under five. To stay healthy around pets of all types, the CDC recommends washing your hands after playing with, feeding, or cleaning up after pets. This action will reduce the risk of disease transfer.

Additionally, pregnant women should exercise caution handling cats, especially kittens, since they can carry harmful parasites. The CDC also advises pregnant women to avoid contact with pet rodents, as they could become exposed to lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus.

Ensuring your pet live a long, happy, and healthy life is essential. The CDC recommends regular veterinary visits for exams and to keep your pet’s vaccinations up to date. Flea and tick control is also crucial to your pet’s health. The CDC reports that ticks can spread harmful diseases such as Lyme and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which can also affect humans. Regular veterinary visits and monitoring of your pet’s hygiene can prevent these illnesses and others.

Check with a local humane society for information on National Pet Day celebrations, and be sure to thank your pet for the companionship and happiness it provides!

Sources: CDC

About the Author
  • Tiffany grew up in Southern California, where she attended San Diego State University. She graduated with a degree in Biology with a marine emphasis, thanks to her love of the ocean and wildlife. With 13 years of science writing under her belt, she now works as a freelance writer in the Pacific Northwest.
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