Pets have been linked to many positive benefits including lower stress levels, better sleep and a healthier heart. They also boost your oxytocin, which is known as the bonding hormone and helps us feel more connected to others.
Despite these benefits, there are a few negative aspects to owning pets. Here are a few reasons why they are bad for your health and wellbeing.
1. They are a source of disease
While some people might think pets are good for our health, they can be sources of disease. These diseases are called zoonotic illnesses, which can be bacterial, viral or parasitic in origin.
Many pets in the home, such as hamsters, mice, gerbils, guinea pigs and rabbits can carry germs that can cause illness in humans. These germs can be transferred to humans by animal bites, skin abrasions or hand-to-mouth transfer of microorganisms from contaminated urine or feces of an infected pet.
Humans can also contract tularemia, a bacterial disease that causes fever and chills. It is a serious infection that can be fatal if not treated with antibiotics.
Cat scratch disease, caused by the bacteria Bartonella henselae, is another zoonotic illness that people can get from cats. It is spread by bites from infected fleas and can cause skin lesions, fever or systemic (whole body) infection.
2. They are a source of stress
There are plenty of stressors for our four-legged friends. Some of the most common include car rides, vet visits, storms and fireworks, baths, and the introduction of new animals into the family.
While your pet may not experience the same degree of stress as you, a well-trained and socialized dog can help keep your emotions in check. Likewise, stress can be a major cause of illness in the human species and contribute to heart, respiratory and skin conditions.
A recent study in the journal PLOS One found that petting a dog lowers your blood pressure and heart rate, slows your breathing and relaxes muscles – all of which can go a long way toward making you feel better about life. Some of the best stress-relieving methods also include getting enough sleep, exercising regularly and introducing your dog to a balanced diet. So, if you are considering bringing home a dog, be sure to do your homework before hand.
3. They are a source of entertainment
Besides providing your pet with food and water, there are several other things that you can do to keep them occupied. Providing them with an interactive toy is one of the best ways to engage their brains and bodies.
For example, there are treat-dispensing toys that will keep your pup busy for hours on end. Toys that dispense treats also help reduce boredom related behaviors such as excessive chewing and licking.
There are also plenty of other activities that you can try with your furry friend, including games and puzzles that are suitable for their age and energy level. As long as you provide your dog with the right kind of entertainment, they will be a happy, well-behaved companion for years to come. It is not a bad idea to put a little extra time and effort into finding them the perfect toys and activities for their age, personality, and lifestyle. They will be happier and healthier in the long run!
4. They are a source of pollution
The biggest environmental impact from pet ownership comes from the production of meat-based pet food, which uses land, water and energy. It also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
In addition, plastic poop bags, litter and pet toys are all sources of pollution. For example, if one dog poops twice a day and a plastic bag is used each time, that equals 730 bags over the course of a year!
When pet waste sits in the soil, it can pollute lakes and streams with pathogens. These include campylobacteriosis, salmonellosis, coccidia, toxocarisis (roundworm), giardia and parvovirus.
These toxins seep into the ground and are carried on rainwater and humidity, which then contaminate waterways. This affects fish and aquatic plants and is toxic to humans who drink the water.