We already knew that having a pet improves our lives in so many ways, but now a new survey of family physicians shows that your doctor believes it too!
The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) surveyed 1,000 general practitioners on their beliefs about the human health benefits of owning pets. 97% of doctors believe that there are definite health benefits that come from having a pet. A majority of doctors have actually recommended that a patient consider getting a pet, either to improve overall health or for a specific condition.
A large majority of the doctors reported seeing patients’ overall health and mood/outlook improve as a result of pet ownership. They also say that they would consider prescribing a pet for either overall health or a specific condition, if positive results were proven by medical research.
Experts note that pets can improve a variety of physical and mental conditions, from heart issues to depression to PTSD. Doctors who have had direct experience with animals in medicine, such as service dogs or animal-assisted therapy, overwhelmingly reported that they have seen these animals improve patients’ physical and mental health, their general mood and outlook, and even how they interact with medical staff.
For more on this study, check out the HABRI website HERE.
Whether you’re making plans to go away on vacation or just looking for someone to walk your dog while you’re at work, finding the right sitter for your pet can be confusing. How do you know if the person you choose will be the right match for your dog or cat? Here are some ideas to keep in mind as you look for that perfect pet sitter.
Do your homework.
Make sure the sitter you choose is bonded and insured. Have they undergone a criminal background check or any special training? Check at least three references before you make a decision. You’ll also want to meet in person before deciding, so you can talk to them and watch how they interact with your pets.
Determine if your cat needs a sitter.
Many people like cats because they are low maintenance, and think it’s OK to leave them alone if they go away for the weekend. Experts say that your cat should not be left alone for more than 12 hours at a time. Bring in a pet sitter if your cat will be alone for more than a day. One 30 minute visit per day to interact with your cat and handle the food, water, and litter box should be fine.
Does your dog need daily dog walker visits?
If you work long hours and think your dog needs some attention while you are away, you can bring your dog to doggy day care or hire a daytime dog walker to visit with your dog at home during the day. A dog walker can come once or twice a day, and spend anywhere between 20 and 60 minutes per visit, depending on your dog’s needs.
Prepare for the first visit.
Before your new pet sitter arrives, make sure your pet’s tags are securely attached to the collar. You’ll also want to leave important information, such as feeding instructions and your vet’s phone number, in a prominent place. Make sure you have enough food and supplies on hand, and always keep them in the same place. It’s also a good idea to let a close neighbor know that a pet sitter will be coming to your home.
The arrival of spring also means that “kitten season” will soon be here too! Meet the newest addition to the FACE family…a little black and white kitten currently being fostered by FACE PR and Events Manager Athena Davis.
FACE PR & Events Manager Athena Davis
This cute little guy serves as a reminder that the coming of kitten season means that animal shelters and cat rescue groups will soon be overwhelmed by litters of kittens that need care and permanent homes. Too many unaltered cats, both strays and pets that go outside, breed in the warm months and create a huge number of homeless kittens. These kittens require a lot of care and attention and place a big burden on shelters and rescue groups.
Spay and neuter your cats. Look for low-cost spay/neuter programs in your community if you can’t afford the vet fee. Make sure to keep your cats indoors, especially if they are not fixed. A cat as young as five months old can get pregnant.
Donate money, kitten supplies, or your volunteer time to local animal shelters. Kitten season puts a huge burden on shelters. Find out what your local shelter needs the most and offer to help!
Volunteer with feral cat coalitions in your area to help control the stray cat population. Feral cat groups use TNR (trap, neuter, release) to reduce the number of unwanted kittens. They rely on dedicated volunteers to help make this happen.
Foster a kitten. Love the idea of caring for a baby kitten? Talk to shelters and rescue groups in your area about becoming a foster parent. You can take in a mom and her litter, a few kittens, or just one…anything will help.
Adopt a homeless cat. There are many great cats and kittens available for adoption during kitten season…and all year round.
FACE Grant Coordinator and Humane Educator Danae Davis
We’ve all seen how texting and talking on the phone while driving can be a safety hazard, causing unsafe distracted driving and even car accident fatalities. But is that cute little dog sitting on your lap also causing you to be a distracted driver? Lawmakers in an increasing number of states think so, and are taking steps to ensure that you and your dog don’t contribute to the problem of distracted driving in the U.S.
The Connecticut General Assembly is considering a bill that would make driving with your pet on your lap illegal, and subject to the same penalties as driving while texting or talking on the phone. Connecticut already has a hands-free law for mobile devices, but legislators feel that driving with an unrestrained dog in your lap is also a safety issue.
Animal advocates agree that this practice poses a safety hazard for the dogs themselves. The Connecticut Humane Society states that pets should never be loose in the car and has come out in support of the proposed new legislation.
Legislators note that driving with a dog in your lap is especially a problem with owners of popular toy breeds who like to take their dogs everywhere with them. The safest way to drive with your dog is to place him in a harness or crate in the back seat, away from the driver and secured in case of an accident.
Connecticut would be joining a handful of other states that already have—or are considering—similar bans on unrestrained pets in motor vehicles. These include New Jersey, Hawaii, California, and Rhode Island.
For more on the issue of distracted driving with dogs, and Connecticut’s efforts to address the problem, click HERE.
Pledgeling is an online giving platform that makes it easy to donate to your favorite charities like the FACE Foundation. Pledgeling allows you to centralize your giving to multiple non-profits all in one place, and makes it easy for you to track all of your charitable giving at tax time.
You can quickly and easily donate from your computer or any mobile device, and then share your donation activity with your friends and other pledgeling.com users (the amount remains private). Pledgeling is free to use, and organizes participating non-profits by category, so it’s easy to find and give to the charities of your choice.
Did you know that when you create an account, pledgeling.com will automatically donate $5 to the FACE Foundation?