When talking about pets and health, most people think of allergies caused by pet fur. This is because the majority of the one in five people with allergies are allergic to the fur and dander of cats and dogs.
Dander is similar to dandruff. It is dead skin shed from the body of animals and is often the main cause your pet allergy and not the fur. The pet dander contains proteins that are behind most allergic reactions. The body misidentifies these proteins as invaders resulting in symptoms such as sneezing, itching and red eyes.
However, if you’ve used this as an excuse to NOT get a pet, it’s time to rethink your strategy. There’s a fantastic reason to get a pet that might improve your health, especially if you have high blood pressure. According to research, pets – dogs in particular -can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Yes, heart disease! The American Heart Association has issued a statement that pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease.
Two ways having a pet can reduce your risk of heart disease
In a study conducted on more than 5,200 adults, researchers found that people who own dogs are more physically active than those who don’t because they walk their pets regularly. This in turn helps keep the heart healthy. Secondly, pets have a calming effect, which can also help lower your blood pressure.
If you’re still more worried about allergies than you are about your heart health, opt for ‘low allergy’ pets such as a specially bred ‘hypoallergenic’ dog breed like the Yorkshire Terriers. It sheds less fur and dander than other dog breeds, reducing your risk of having an allergic reaction to them, says About.Dogs. You can also clean and dust a much as possible to keep dander and dust mites at a minimal.