Health Benefits of Pets
Could the cure for depression be as easy as caring for a pet? The psychological and physiological benefits of companion animals are often cited by health care workers. “They can lower blood pressure, elevate mood, and lower depression and loneliness,” Dr. Jim says.
Dr. Lisa illustrates the point by describing the pet program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. “They bring the pets around to the patients that have been there awhile, and it’s really been shown to make them a lot happier and healthier.”
Unwelcome Bed Buddies
Do you have a “welcome mat” on your bed? Beware! Unseemly characters like fleas, mites and ticks often tag along with your pet for an unwelcome cuddle! Make sure to check with your veterinarian and perform regular flea and pest treatments on your pets.
President-elect Barack Obama recently stated that his family is looking for a First Dog that won’t cause an allergic reaction in their eldest daughter, Malia. The Doctors explain that people are allergic to dog’s dander, saliva and urine, so there’s no such thing as an allergy-free pooch. Dr. Travis notes that kids who grow up around dogs often have fewer allergies than kids who do not.
The pediatrician agrees, but cautions, “If someone really has a true dog allergy, then you have to avoid the exposure.”
Veterinarian Carolyn McCray joins The Doctors with advice on how to keep the other “kids” in your life healthy and happy! She demonstrates how to gently brush canine teeth on Dr. Travis’ dog, Nala. She encourages pet owners to brush their furry friends’ teeth every week to keep their choppers and gums healthy. Other options to keep tartar at bay include mouthwash and specially formulated bones and treats.
Warning Signs of Pet Dental Trouble:
• Bad breath
• Teeth discoloration
• Inflamed gums
• Discomfort or pain when eating dry food
Addie is concerned for her beloved cat, Enya. She says that Enya urinates frequently, doesn’t eat and is losing weight. Dr. McCray explains that these symptoms could indicate anything from kidney troubles, chronic renal insufficiency (CFR), hypertension or diabetes. She takes Enya’s blood pressure and states that it’s within normal range, so she is able to rule out hypertension. She instructs Addie to take Enya to the vet to have the kitty’s blood drawn for further diagnosis.
Let’s Get Physical
Dr. McCray stresses the importance of early intervention for any ailment your pet suffers. Just as people go in for an annual physical, our four-legged friends should have a yearly exam and blood work as well . As with humans, late detection of diseases or conditions severely limits treatment options.
Toxic Food for Pets
It’s not unheard of for someone in the family to sneak table scraps into Fido’s eager mouth. Most people assume that dogs like human food just as much as they do!
Chocolate Lovers Beware!
Chocolate, long considered to be a decadent creation of the gods, is toxic to dogs and can cause irreparable harm such as permanent paralysis or heart attack.
Peel Me a Grape
Grapes and raisins cause acute kidney failure in pets.
Macadamia nuts can also cause paralysis in pets.
Dogs often show their affection with sloppy wet “kisses,” but Dr. Jim warns that canine mouths contain bacteria called Camplyobacter, which they get from smelling each other’s backsides. The bacteria will cause the stomach flu in humans and each year more than 200,000 Americans contract the virus after their dogs lick their mouths. Ringworm can also be passed orally, so it’s best to keep the kisses for your human friends!