Effects on pets' health
Keeping animals as pets may become detrimental to their health if certain requirements are not kept. An important issue is the inappropriate feeding, which may produce clinical effects (like the consumption of chocolate by dogs). Passive smoking is another recurring problem, aggravated by the fact that fur animals groom themselves, which means taking in extra harmful substances that have landed on their fur, not just those inhaled. A study has revealed that 44% of pet owners who smoke in UK do so around their pets, with 38% of them stating that they had no idea that second hand smoke could damage their pet's health.
Effects of pets on their caregiver's health
Pets have the ability to stimulate their caregivers, in particular the elderly, giving people someone to take care of, someone to exercise with, and someone to help them heal from a physically or psychologically troubled past. Having a pet may help people achieve health goals, such as lowered blood pressure, or mental goals, such as decreased stress. There appears to be strong evidence that having a pet can help a person lead a longer, healthier life. In a study of 92 people hospitalized for coronary ailments, within a year 11 of the 29 without pets had died, compared to only 3 of the 52 who had pets A recent study concluded that owning a pet can reduce the risk of a heart attack by 2% and that pets are better than medication in reducing blood pressure. Dogs which are trained to be guide dogs can help people with visual impairments.
Pets in long-term care institutions
Even pet owners residing in a long-term care facility, such as a hospice or nursing home, experience health benefits from pets. Pets for nursing homes are chosen based on the size of the pet, the amount of care that the breed needs, and the population and size of the care institution.Appropriate pets go through a screening process and, if it is a dog, additional training programs to become a therapy dog
Health risks that are associated with pets include:
- Aggravation of allergies and asthma caused by dander and fur or feathers
- Injuries, maulings and sometimes deaths caused by pet bites and attacks
- Disease and/or parasites due to animal hygiene problems or lack of appropriate treatment (feces and urine)
- Stress caused by behavior of animals
- Fear or distress from animal presence or behavior
many people have kept many different species of animals in captivity over the course of human history, only a relative few have been kept long enough to be considerd domesticated. Other types of animals, notably monkeys have never been domesticated but are still commonly sold and kept as pets. There are also inanimate objects that have been kept as "pets", either as a form of game, or humorously.
Domesticated pets are the most common types of pet. They have consistently been kept in captivity over a long enough period of time that they exhibit marked differences in behavior and appearance from their wild relatives.