Tina McManus' Blog
Statistics vary, but according to two credible sources, 44% of Americans own a dog. That means that if you don't own a dog, there's a strong chance one or both of your next door neighbors do!
Why are dogs such a permanent fixture in so many households? Unconditional love is probably the number one reason most people bring a dog into their lives, but enhanced health, home security, and companionship are others.
Health benefits: If you have a dog in your family, you probably already know the power of the "w" word. From a dog's perspective, there are few experiences that outrank the joy of going for a walk with their master! It not only provides a daily bonding experience for both dog and owner, but it's also an opportunity to introduce a moderate amount of exercise into your life -- assuming your doctor approves! While running, athletics, or weight training is not up everyone's alley (or even medically advisable), taking a leisurely stroll in the neighborhood can be a great way to stretch your legs, get some fresh air, and enjoy bonding moments with your four-legged companion! It's also a proven fact that petting or playing with a dog (or cat) can help lower your blood pressure and distract you from the cares and worries of everyday life.
Teaching moments: Not only do most kids love playing with pets, but they can also benefit from learning pet responsibility, kindness, and compassion.
Home security: While it's not an infallible method of burglarproofing your house, having a dog almost always serves as a deterrent. Most dogs are inherently protective of their territory (and loved ones) and will generally bark if they sense an intruder on the property or at the front door. Since one of the last things burglars want to do is call attention to themselves, a barking dog can definitely help keep the bad guys away!
Companionship: Dogs aren't the greatest conversationalists in the world, but they can be a very comforting presence when you're reading a book, watching TV, or relaxing at home. Many also love to join you for a ride in the car, a walk in the neighborhood, or a run in the park.
While dog ownership is not for everyone, more than 40% of us could not imagine life without our canine companion(s)! They do require a lot of attention, patience, and training, but the rewards are usually well worth the effort.
If you're considering getting a dog, you can gather a lot of helpful information about dog breeds, barking tendencies, temperament, shedding, how much exercise different breeds require, and other characteristics from the American Kennel Association. To help ensure a mutually satisfying relationship between you and your dog, it also pays to sign up for a dog obedience class and go online to learn about dog behavior, crate training, and health maintenance.
Allergies are extremely common in America with millions of Americans suffering from symptoms.
The most common household allergies are seasonal, which run from February to early summer, and animal allergies which can pose a risk at any time.
There are some ways you can limit some of the allergens in your home, whether you want to make your house more allergy-proof for yourself and family or your guests.
There are a number of plant pollen and mold allergies that are common throughout the United States. During pollen season, especially on dry, windy days, these pollens are spread everywhere.
Many people who experience seasonal allergies watch local pollen levels in their area to prepare themselves for peak days when they are most likely to experience symptoms. During these times, it’s best to keep doors and windows completely shut. This includes your home, garage, and vehicle.
To clean up after times of high pollen levels, it’s a good idea to first vacuum and then use a damp cloth to dust household surfaces. The moisture will trap pollens and prevent them from escaping back into the air.
When it comes to mold, there are a number of preventative measures you can take in your home. The most important thing you can do is avoid excess moisture in your home. You can do this by using a dehumidifier, monitoring water pipes, and cleaning spills and leaks immediately after they happen.
Pet owners love their pets. But the pet dander that comes with them is a leading cause of allergies. To help mitigate pet allergies in your home, focus on the areas where your pets spend the most time. If your pet sleeps on your bed or has their own bed, wash the bed linens frequently.
Since most pets spend their days inside your home, roaming the floors, it’s important to vacuum frequently with a high-efficiency vacuum cleaner. High-efficiency machines that are sealed properly and use effective filters are much better at reducing the amount of dust that escapes during vacuuming and when you empty the vacuum itself.
The filter on your vacuum isn’t the only one necessary for reducing allergy-causing particles in your home. Heating and ventilation systems also come with air filters that need to be cleaned or replaced.
When replacing your filter, look for one that is HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) certified to remove the most allergens possible.
Don’t forget the backyard
Since many allergies are carried in on the wind and shoes entering your home from the outside, it’s important to understand which allergens you might be growing in your backyard. Some trees, grasses, and plants cause higher levels of allergies and are more likely to cause symptoms to you and your guests.
Even the most common trees like pine and maple can be problematic for some people, so it’s important to know what you’re allergic to and whether you should take steps to landscape away some of those allergens.
Whether you’re bringing home a new puppy or adopting an adult dog, your new 4-legged friend is sure to be a part of the family. Just as you would when bringing home a new baby, you’ll want to make preparations to your space for both you and your dog’s safety. You don’t want to overlook anything and then have you or your pet get hurt. As a rule of thumb: Anything that you would protect a baby from you should protect a dog from. These dangers include:
- Prescription medications
- Small parts that can be ingested
- Cleaning supplies
- Hazardous houseplants
- Steep stairways
Keep your furry friend healthy and save yourself from costly vet bills by taking precautions. Simple measures can make a big difference. Safety items that you can use to help protect both you and your pet are:
- Power strip covers
- Locks for cabinets
- Keep pills, candy, and chemicals on high shelves that can’t be reached
- Cord wranglers
These little devices can prevent your dog from chewing or getting into hazardous things. It’s also a good idea to protect dogs from steep falls on stairways and decks by blocking certain areas off. Since many dogs don’t know what to keep out of their snouts, you want to think like a dog and know that if they can chew it, they will!
Keep Your Dog Out Of The Trash
Dogs tend to like to see what they can find in the trash. If you get a trashcan that can’t be accessed by dogs, you won’t need to worry. A hidden trashcan in a cabinet or island can help to alleviate this problem. You can also get a can with a lid that can’t be easily popped off.
Keep The Dog’s Access To A Minimum
If your dog is home alone all day while you’re at work you may want to close doors or put up gates in order to restrict the dog to a certain area of the house. This way, the dog will know his place and won’t be able to cause any kind of damage.
Keep Clutter To A Minimum
Clutter is dangerous to both humans and dogs alike. If you know a dog is bound to chew things, put it away! Keeping floors and pathways clean also protects both you and your pet from tripping. Staying organized is also a positive for everyone in the house.
If you always think with safety in mind when you have a dog, you’ll keep both you and your pet safe in your home the whole year through.