Healthy Benefits of Owning Pets
Furry friends provide companionship as well as promote good health.
Animals have always been an important part of my family. My first puppy, a gift when I was a baby, turned into a fine hunting dog for my grandfather, who trained him. He also became my devoted companion for the next 16 years.
I've never been without a pet. These days, our home is ruled by a quartet of orange feline siblings taken in after their mother died and hand-fed by my children. Now 2 years old, these animals have absolutely no idea that cats are supposed to be aloof. All four crave attention, and I love it when one climbs onto my lap or snuggles close while I read or watch TV.
Reason To Get Active
Most cats don't take kindly to being walked on a leash. Dogs, on the other hand, usually love it, and you can get some great exercise by taking your dog on regular walks. Before heading out, be sure your pet has a properly fitted collar with identification and a sturdy leash. Shorthaired dogs are especially susceptible to cold, so sweaters or other coverings will keep them warm and ward off health hazards such as hypothermia.
Throwing a ball for your dog is also a wonderful workout for him, and it keeps you moving as well. After playtime in wet winter weather, check paws and ears for ice crystals that could signal frostbite. If you suspect your pet has frostbite or has developed hypothermia (shivering, low breathing rate, unresponsiveness), seek veterinary care immediately.