Did you know that owning a pet is associated with reduced risk for certain types of lymphoma? Or that heart-attack sufferers who own pets have a higher one-year survival rate? These are two examples suggesting the power that pets have over our well-being. The human-animal bond has existed for thousands of years, and encompasses a mutually beneficial relationship that supports psychological, emotional, and physical well-being on both sides. Fostering this special bond is incredibly advantageous to your health, and your pet’s.  

How the human-animal bond benefits us

Numerous studies support the positive effect that pets have over our mood, pain, and physical health. Following is a list of findings from real studies provided by Pet Partners:

  • Animal presence can significantly improve positive social behaviors in children with an autism spectrum disorder
  • Fibromyalgia patients experience less pain and an improved mood when a therapy dog is also in the waiting room
  • Pet ownership lowers the blood-pressure response to stress
  • Owning a pet may decrease risk for cardiovascular disease
  • Therapy animals in pediatric cancer settings improve children’s motivation to undergo treatment

Keep you and your pet physically healthy

A healthy bond starts with a healthy body. By keeping you and your pet in tip-top shape, you set yourselves up for a lifetime of love and nurturing. Follow these pet guidelines to keep that bond healthy and strong:

  • Annual or semi-annual wellness examinations, as directed by Dr. Schoonover 
  • Regular screenings for infectious diseases, such as heartworm, Lyme, and feline leukemia
  • Regular immunizations, such as rabies, distemper, bordetella, and feline leukemia, as recommended by Dr. Schoonover
  • Routine deworming and parasite prevention
  • An at-home oral hygiene routine, and regular professional dental cleanings
  • Appropriate grooming, including bathing, brushing, ear cleaning, and nail trimming
  • Moderate daily exercise, under Dr. Schoonover’s supervision
  • A wholesome, nutritious diet

If you have questions about an appropriate diet or exercise regimen for your pet, contact our veterinary team. 

Spend quality time with your pet

You don’t have to bring your pet to a special event to reap the benefits of quality time together. By taking the time to truly focus on our relationships with our pets, we quickly realize how much they need us, and we need them. Following are some ways to reconnect with your pet:

  • Daily routine — Create a daily routine revolving around meals and exercise. Since your pet depends on you for nourishment and physical activity, she will look forward to these moments every day.
  • Playing games — Keep things fun and interesting by playing games, such as fetch or hide and seek, or creating a scavenger hunt.
  • Sharing treats — Enjoy the occasional special treat together, such as a pet-safe cookie, ice-cream, or cake. Consider creating one together in your kitchen. 
  • Exploration — As long as your pet is welcome, take her to a new place, such as the office, a different dog park, or an outdoor restaurant. 
  • Cuddling — Enjoy a simple but engaging cuddle on the couch. 

Consider training your pet for a therapy program

Therapy pets are trained to provide comfort and relief, while service pets are trained to perform certain tasks to aid disabled people. Therapy pets are welcome in a number of facilities, including hospitals, libraries, schools, and other places with therapy pet programs. You can train your pet for therapy work in a number of ways, including a professional program, such as through Pet Partners or the AKC. If your pet is older than 1 year, has a good disposition, and is willing to train, you could give the gift of animal companionship and help your community at the same time. 

At WesVet, we are dedicated to helping you achieve and maintain your special bond with your pet. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions, or to schedule a consultation or wellness exam for your pet.