Although our pet can provide you with unconditional love and boundless affection, you also need to be aware of the many health risks that dogs and cats can leave you vulnerable to. Preparing for these and taking action to prevent the transfer of disease can help both you and your pet to lead happy and healthy lives together. Here is what you need to know about how pets can endanger your health.
What health risks do pets leave you vulnerable to?
All animals carry parasites that can be particularly harmful to humans, especially in their feces. One of the most dangerous of these, Toxoplasma gandii, is carried by cats and can cause a condition called toxoplasmosis, which affects the brain and causes symptoms such as high temperature and nausea. Another risk from cats comes from cat scratch disease, which occurs when the bacteria Bartonella hensalae gets into the bloodstream from scratch wounds. This can also cause a headache and a fever.
Many of the other diseases that pets can cause include salmonella, which can be caught from their food, infections like ringworm that can be passed from your furry friend’s fur, and Lyme disease, which is found in ticks. It is also possible to catch rabies from infected animals, which can start with flu-like symptoms that you may not be able to recognize easily.
Another way that pets can damage your health is through falling over dogs and cats that run under your feet, especially if you have limited mobility or use uneven stairs to travel between the floors of your home.
What can you do to stop them?
To stop the risks of contracting a disease from your pet, you should visit a veterinary clinic to give your regular animal check-ups. You should also visit the vet if your pet is showing symptoms of common diseases, such as if they are acting out of the ordinary. Vet clinics, such as those at heartandpaw.com, will be able to check your pet for illness, treat any long-term conditions that they may have, and give you personalized advice on how to stop the spread and risk of disease within your home.
You should also be wary when handling feces, such as when you are clearing out a litter box or picking up dog poo when you are out and about. You should try to use plastic scoopers when you can or wear disposable gloves to clean out equipment that has come into contact with feces.
It is also incredibly crucial that you take your animals for their regular vaccinations, which can prevent many of the conditions that can pass on to humans, such as rabies. This can prevent the spread of illness in the long term, but you should always make sure that you can keep these up to date.
Do the benefits outweigh the risks?
However, this should not put you off having a pet. If you take the appropriate precautions, the benefits outweigh the risks. For instance, having a pet can improve your blood pressure and stress levels, help mental health conditions, and even make you less vulnerable to allergies. Not only this but owning a pet can also reduce loneliness and increase your chance of surviving a heart attack.