Is pet hair bad for your health?

Pet allergies explained
People with pet allergies are allergic to certain proteins found in dander, urine, feces, and saliva in common household animals, such as dogs and cats. The compromised immune system of those people leads to the release of IgE antigens (a type of protein) that attaches to the lining of the respiratory tract, skin, and eyes.

Furthermore, this will produce chemical reactions that result in inflammation and common allergy symptoms, including: wheezing, coughing, constricted airways, runny or congested nose, itchy throat, and watery and itchy eyes.

Pet allergiesAre pet allergies linked to asthma?
There is still a wide breadth of unexplained phenomenon between allergies and asthma in general. Not everything is known but it is assumed that chronic inflammation (from pet allergies, for example) can potentially lead to the development of asthma later on.

However, it is not a clean-cut piece of information and remains as a possible theory amongst a batch of contradicting information.

Can pets prevent allergies?
It is thought that early exposure to pet allergens can help reduce the risk of pet allergies in the future. Having a pet cat before the age of 18 can help decrease cat allergies while exposure before the age of one (in boys) to a pet dog can also do the same.

The possibility is there but further research is necessary to firmly confirm preliminary studies. Most will agree though that a bit of germs (and allergens) to boost immune systems may be quite helpful in the long run.

Can pets prevent allergies

How do I know if I have pet allergies?
You may start suspecting pet allergies if you suffer from any of the previously mentioned symptoms while being around animals. You may also notice that those symptoms are gone or find relief soon after avoiding contact from pets.

The only real medical way of knowing what you are allergic to is by having an allergy test done. It is recommended that this test be done as soon as symptoms are bothersome in order to prevent chronic inflammation (and thereby, asthma or asthma attacks).

Treatment plan for pet allergies
The best treatment plan for pet allergies is removing the pet and avoiding them in future situations. If you are a big animal lover and insist on having a pet in the house, ignoring your allergies, then you can take other precautionary steps to help ease symptoms.

The most important is not allowing pets to sleep in your bedroom, and especially not in your bed. Keep the bedroom door closed at all times to avoid their unwanted proteins from contaminating your area.

Pet hair and other substances will get transferred anywhere so it is important to remove upholstery (or clean it daily) and/or prevent pets from getting on them. Your pets will have to undergo a proper bath at least every week to keep potential allergens at bay. Another option can be the use of special air filters to reduce airborne allergens.

An easy but non-natural solution can also be prescribed medication. Certain medications will help prevent allergy symptoms or asthma attacks, such as antihistamines. If you happen to have any type of allergy, it is always wise to work with your medical physician and come up with an effective treatment plan together accordingly.

Treatment plan for pet allergies

Does ingested pet hair cause health issues?
Contrary to popular belief, ingested pet hair does not cause health issues. Pet hair actually has a similar structure to human hair, being made of mainly keratin, which cannot be digested by the human body.

Rumor has it that pet hair may travel to other organs but this is simply not true. Someone will have to ingest plenty of pet hair in order for health issues to develop and this highly unlikely.

Should I consider having a pet?
The benefits of having a pet far outweigh the possible side effects in most cases. It has been scientifically proven that pets bring comfort, help heal, and increase happiness in owners. They are a wonderful addition to any family and can contribute to a person’s overall wellbeing.

However, if you already suffer from pet allergies and your symptoms are uncontrollable, it might be best to not own any four-legged creatures. At the end of day, it is a personal decision (based on many factors, excluding health reasons) that will ultimately decide this answer.

Dog poo on beaches

Hundreds of bags of dog poo have been found on the UK’s beaches according to the Marine Conservations Society’s 2016 research; with 792 bags recorded at 364 beaches by volunteers over the Great British Beach Clean weekend in September last year. However these numbers don’t show the full scale of the problem; beach clean volunteers do not record unbagged waste therefore the total amount of dog poo left by some owners on our beautiful beaches remains unknown.

Dog poo on beaches

Many people believe that leaving dog poo on the beach is OK because the tide washes it away, however this natural disposal technique isn’t the best thing for our beautiful beaches and seas. Bacteria present in dog poo is potentially harmful to beach users and can affect water quality.

That’s why organisations and campaigns from across the UK are uniting this week for #binit4beaches; a campaign focused on reducing pollution and litter at the beach and calling for dog owners to help with ongoing improvements.

Millions of people head to the UK’s beaches to relax, paddle and swim every year and we want water quality to be the best it can be. Last year 98.5% of the UK’s bathing waters met the tough minimum standards. By working together, we can continue to help protect and improve water quality. So, if you visit the beach with your dog please do your bit to help by bagging and binning your dog poo, making the beach safe for everyone to enjoy.

Do you know the effects of dog poo in the sea?

Millions of people enjoy the British beaches each year, paddling in the sea or, if they are daring enough, going for a chilly swim!

To protect and advise the general public using the beaches the Environment Agency check the areas of the coast classified as bathing waters 20 times a year monitoring their water quality. They then report a result of either excellent, good, sufficient or fail on their website and at signage on the beach.

Did you know that dog poo has a significant effect on these results?

effects of dog poo in the sea

Not only is it unpleasant to find dog mess in the sea but the harmful bacteria in it can make those swimming and paddling sick. Also, if left on pavements inland it can also be washed into the sea during heavy rain.

As this bacteria affects the bathing water quality high volumes of dog poo increases the risk of the bathing water receiving a fail status, resulting in the location being withdrawn. This may have a bigger impact on the coastal economy relating to tourism and jobs.

LOVEmyBEACH is a campaign with a huge challenge: to work together to keep our local beaches and bathing waters clean. That is why we are speaking to as many responsible dog owners as possible to who can help promote this important message so we can all enjoy the beaches for generations to come. As always, please bag it and bin it when on the beach as the tide cannot wash away your dogs bad deeds.

dog poo in the sea

Why the UK Should Acknowledge Emotional Support Animal

In the US, the number of emotional support animals is growing steadily. Thousands of mental health patients have been able to survive difficult times with their ESAs without expensive therapy sessions and medical bills. However, acknowledging the importance of emotional support animals in the UK is still a controversial subject. While airlines in the US allow passengers to travel with emotional support animals, (they should have specific documentation to prove they need one) the rules are different in the UK.

British Airways let passengers carry their assistance dogs in the cabin with prior agreement, whereas all other emotional support animals need to travel in the hold. According to The British Airways, if an individual is travelling with a recognized assistance dog, the dog will be placed in the cabin, without any additional cost. Unfortunately, you cannot book this service in advance but when it comes to the actual flight, there are a limited number of spaces for dogs.

Emotional Support Animal

However, when it comes to ESAs, they have to be placed in the cargo bay but the airline assures IAG World Cargo takes good care of all transporting animals and pets. An Emotional Support Animal is a companion animal for people having physical and psychological needs. The animal does not necessarily have to be task-trained and the purpose of keeping one is to benefit from the unconditional love and affection it provides.

Research implies that mental health issues in the UK are rising and mental health services struggle to provide effective and timely solutions as people have to wait for months to get appointments. An emotional support animal offers long-term support and will help people spend less with this permanent support system.

Owing to extensive researches around the world, ESAs are now prescribed in some states in the US and are recognized legally as service animals that receive the same rights as guide dogs. There are many companies in the US, such as TherapyPet.org and EmotionalSupportAnimalCo.com, that make it very easy to obtain this type of documentation for your pet. However, in the UK, emotional support animals are simply not recognized even though prisons, educational institutions and medical premises provide sessions with therapy dogs, to help reduce anxiety, depression and stress.

Since ESAs are required to follow animal import and quarantine rules, there are a few places in the world where they are not allowed at all, such as Maldives, or have to go into quarantine (New Zealand or Australia). Therefore, you should check with the embassy of the country that you want to visit with your emotional support pet.

Nothing is documented in the guidance document about the UK regulations about giving access to guide dogs and assistance dogs. Even though there is no law that prevents the British from accepting a pet or emotional support animal that travels by air with its owner, it is uncertain if the handler of a privately trained assistance dog will be allowed to attend places of public accommodation and public transportation.

By assisting individuals with disabilities to function better in society, emotional support animals serve a greater purpose than conventional house pets. The purpose of an ESA is to offer healing benefits to individuals with psychological, mental or emotional disabilities. Emotional support animals are not restricted to just dogs and all domesticated animals qualify for an emotional support animal.

The purpose of an emotional support animal is to offer therapeutic benefits to individuals even when they are traveling. The British are familiar of viewing dogs in harnesses or other types of assistance dogs that wear bright colored capes with the Assistance Dogs of the UK logo. People who wish to carry their emotional support animals or dogs are suggested to consider pet friend hotels and rent a car services to help you keep your emotional assistance dog with you.  In the future, our hope is that therapy animals are recognized in the UK and are able to support their owners during times of need no matter where they are or what the situation is. As more research unfolds, I wouldn’t doubt the UK starts to identify these types of pets in a legal manner.

Author Bio: Brad Smith is an avid content writer who enjoys telling stories about animals and their effects on human mental & behavioural health.

Recognise And Help Relieve The Pain Of Your Dog’s Arthritis

As we approach World Arthritis Day on October 12, solutions-led pet product manufacturer, Peak Pet Products, is reminding pet owners that arthritis is not just suffered by humans and that their dog could also be suffering from the pain this disease brings.

A recent study by pet insurer, Animal Friends, has shown that the number of dogs suffering from arthritis has more than trebled since 2015. Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Greyhounds, Boxers and Rottweilers are breeds with the highest likelihood of developing the disease.

The new research, based on a study of 20,000 pet health records, predicts the number of dogs suffering arthritis is only set to rise.  It has also drawn a link between obesity levels in dogs and the onset of arthritis.

Luckily, there are pet products that can assist by delivering enhanced pet care for pets suffering from the disease, including a revolutionary new dog bowl – PetWeighter™.

PetWeighter™ is a two-part product comprising feeding bowl plus weighted base.  Thanks to its design, the bowl is elevated to a handy height of 21cm that prevents dogs having to stoop – something of great help to dogs suffering from arthritis, as it reduces strain on their joints and alleviates discomfort in the neck, chest and elbows.

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Although it is a brand new product, PetWeighter™ has already attracted praise from dog behaviour specialists and high profile vets.

Inspired by product developer Charlie the Schnauzer, who needed constant access to drinking water, the high-strength plastic product features a removable bowl on top of a base that can be filled with sand, water, a combination of both or ice, to make it a bowl that cannot move, no matter how hard a dog tries.  Whilst the base stays put, the bowl is detached from the base at feed time and when it needs cleaning.

The elevated height of the bowl also helps to ensure that pups are unable to soil mum’s food or tip the bowl over.

PetWeighter™, from Peak Pet Products, comes in three colours – red, pink and turquoise blue – each with a dark grey base. The bowl is suitable for cats as well as dogs and is designed to last for years.

With a design focused on hygiene, the bowl is simple to clean and has no dirt-attracting cracks or crevices.  It costs £24.99 and can be bought from good pet shops and online from www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01GAM16H2  More information about the product can be found at www.petweighter.com

1Tell-tale signs that a dog may be suffering from arthritis are an obvious stiffness in the joints, which prevents exercise that the dog was previously capable of enjoying, and difficulties in activities such as walking up stairs or jumping.  Sometimes, a dog may also continuously lick at a painful joint.

A PetWeighter spokesperson says; “Arthritis in humans is a common and well-known problem, but there is less awareness of the issue in pets. World Arthritis Day, on October 12, provides the perfect opportunity to learn more about the disease in both humans and pets alike.”

Osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative joint disease, is the most common type of arthritis seen in dogs and is a very common cause of chronic pain, particularly in older dogs.  OA is a slowly progressing disease, where the cartilage in the dog’s joints breaks down and causes friction between the bones.  This results in the formation of outgrowths of new bone, known as osteophytes.  The cost of veterinary treatment for arthritis can run to thousands of pounds.

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Dogs, depression and what you can do to help your pet

The conversation surrounding mental health has picked up in recent months, with high profile entertainers such as Ruby Wax and Stephen Fry sharing their personal experiences with mental illness.

However, according to Bought By Many, many people don’t realise, that dogs also suffer from mental health issues too.

A recent study by the vet charity PDSA found that more than 2.3 million dogs are regularly left on their own for five hours or more. Worryingly, 28% of the 31,500 pet owners surveyed believe it is acceptable to leave their dog alone in the house for 6 to 10 hours.

This is in stark contrast to advice from vets, who say dogs should not be left alone for more than four hours a day, because the loneliness and boredom can cause destructive behaviour.

Dogs need exercise
The survey also found that as many as 465,000 dogs are never taken for a walk. Daily walks are crucial to the well-being of most dog breeds. Some, like Pugs, Pekingese and some older dogs, can get by with a run around the backyard or even indoor playtime, though they would still benefit from regular walks outside.

For more energetic dog breeds, a lack of exercise can be devastating. It can affect both their mental and physical health and cause them to act out. The problem is so severe that over 50% of UK vets report behavioural issues have caused an increase in pet euthanasia in the past two years.

Of course this doesn’t mean you should quit your job so that you can take your dog for long daily walks – Dog Walkers are available to hire to do it for you. You can even hire a Dog Sitter to look after your dog while you’re at work.

It’s important to remember, however, that ultimately, your dog is devoted to you and it is crucial you spend time giving it the love and attention in craves.

Behavioural cover in pet insurance
If you’re struggling to deal with your pet’s behavioural issues, Bought By Many suggest checking your pet insurance – several companies include cover for behavioural problems in their policies. You might also consider the level of cover offered for these issues before deciding which provider to go with, or switch to.

Bought By Many found that John Lewis offers a good payout for behavioural problems – £250 is included in their Essential and Plus policies, and their Premier policy comes with £500 worth of cover.

Many other pet insurance firms exclude behavioural cover or do not specify the levels of payouts. You can compare the 10 best pet insurance policies for dogs here.

Pet insurance can cover complementary therapy, which may help with a dog’s behavioural issues.

Pet owner responsibilities
As well as long working hours and technology taking over our lives, a recent article in the Independent suggests that global warming might also be to blame for owners not taking their dogs out enough.

While pet owners are happy to take their dogs for a walk in frosty conditions, rain and mud are a much less attractive proposition. But dog ownership requires some sacrifice, including getting a little muddy.

Having a dog can be a wonderful thing and the unconditional love and companionship enhances the life of any pet owner. Ironically, dog ownership is thought to be one of the most effective ways to treat depression and anxiety in humans.

However, trying to fit a dog into a hectic lifestyle is not always viable and can cause unfair damage to an innocent animal that just wants your attention and love.

PDSA Advice
PDSA vet Vicki Larkham-Jones has some important words of advice for pet owners: “PDSA is urging pet owners to re-assess life from their pet’s perspective to ensure that they are giving their animals the right level of care and attention they need to live healthy, happy lives.

“I’d encourage people thinking about getting a pet to pause first and find out about all aspects of pet ownership in order to provide for that animal’s lifetime needs.”

Pet insurance

Sharron Davies backs No Bite is Right campaign and heads around the country to help keeps pets healthy

As the weather warms up and we approach summer, pet owners are being urged to be vigilant against ticks and fleas which thrive in warmer weather. Watch our video where Sharron and the Tickbuster team of experts tell you how you can keep your furry friends happy and healthy as temperatures rise

As pet owners get set for a summer spent with their beloved furry friends in the great outdoors, Sharron Davies is urging them to make sure their animals are in tip top shape before the summer kicks in.

The former Olympic swimmer is backing the No Bite is Right campaign and is making her way around the country on the Tickbuster Tour alongside a panel of experts, to help pet owners prevent nasty bites from ticks and fleas which thrive in warmer weather.

New research shows that almost one in ten pet owners don’t do anything to prevent their pets being bitten by ticks and fleas, while only a quarter treat their pet with a preventative treatment at the recommended frequency. Furthermore, less than 60% believe they have control over their pet’s protection from parasites like ticks, fleas and lungworm.

But while nasty and in some cases potentially fatal – all of these parasites and the diseases they spread can be protected against by regular use of suitable preventative products available from vets.

Watch our video where Sharron Davies starts the Tickbuster tour at the Ayr County Fair, alongside a panel of experts, to educate pet owners on how to keep their pets healthy this summer.

www.itsajungle.com

Pet Microchipping Essentials

As of April 2016, it’s now a legal requirement for all dogs over 8-weeks to be microchipped in the UK. Failing to do so could land you with a fine of up to £500.

How does it work?
The ID chip is as small as a grain of rice and no more painful than a standard vaccination. The procedure only takes a few minutes, but the benefits last for life. The only thing that you need to remember is to keep your contact details up-to-date.

Why is it important?
ID chips are a worthwhile precaution for your four-legged friend as a microchipped pet is more likely to be returned to its owner if lost or stolen. Microchipping will also help cut down on the numbers of stray animals, helping to reduce the strain on local authorities and charities.

Is it expensive?
Costs for ID chips vary from £15.00 and £20.00 at private clinics while some charities offer them for free.

For more useful information on how ID chips work and why it’s important to use them, take a look at this helpful guide from Sainsbury’s Bank:

www.sainsburysbank.co.uk/money-matters/pet-microchipping.shtml

Pet Microchipping Essentials