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Dog-walking: Some say make it law

| May 20, 2021 1:00 AM

Dog lovers sure don’t need National Pet Month to be reminded that pooch pampering benefits parent as much as pup.

Health experts at the CDC and countless veterinarians vouch for the many health benefits of owning a pet. Pet companions help manage loneliness and depression, and research indicates pet care and bonding lower stress and help decrease blood pressure and lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Plus, having a dog creates opportunities to exercise, get outside, and socialize. Those benefits are needed by pooch as much as parent, so much so that a recent poll found 1 in 4 Idahoans think walking your dog should be a law.

Findings from MyPetNeedsThat.com’s survey of 3,000 respondents include:

One-quarter (25 percent) of Idahoans think there should be a state law enforcing daily dog walks to ensure dogs get enough exercise. Lack of exercise negatively impacts pet health, including restlessness, boredom, frustration; increased risk of weight gain and withdrawing from daily activities.

Nearly half (43 percent) of respondents believe owners who don’t walk their dogs should be banned from owning them.

More than half (54 percent) think tying up dogs for over an hour should be illegal.

More than one-third (34 percent) of Idaho respondents said they’d report a neighbor who never exercised their dog to authorities. America’s obesity epidemic is mirrored in many of our pets, warn veterinarians.

Nearly 1 in 5 respondents think dog ownership should be legally limited to no more than three dogs, because it’s harder to care for more. Owning a pet sometimes requires more time, effort, expense and dedication to properly care for them than some potential adopters realize.

If you plan to adopt, consider researching the specific needs of the animal — breed and particular pet.

How long will this animal live and how large will it become? What are their food and exercise needs? How much will it cost for veterinary care? How much time and attention do they need to be healthy? What type of habitat? Are pets allowed in this house or apartment?

Consider too the people end. Are there young children, older people, or people with weak immune systems who will care for or be around the pet?

The very young, very old, and immune-compromised (including some pregnant women) are more likely susceptible to zoonotic diseases or certain aspects of pet care, such as a litter box.

Veterinarians are a great resource for help choosing the best kind of pet, as well as Kootenai Humane Society 208-772-4019 and other pet shelters.

For more information see Cdc.gov/healthypets and Mypetneedsthat.com/paw-and-order.

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Sholeh Patrick is a columnist for the Hagadone News Network whose doglike cats have been known to go for a walk (half a block) and fetch a squish ball. Email Sholeh@cdapress.com.