The Intersection of Family Dogs and Family Health

Family Dog and Family Health by Frankie Wallace  |Updated 04-09-2024

Dogs are called “man’s best friend” for a reason, but that friendship certainly isn’t limited to “man”. Having a four-legged friend in your family means you’ll have a lot more unconditional love and happy tail wags when you walk in the door each day.

Simply put, having a family dog is one of the best things you can do.

But, bringing a dog into your family unit could actually impact your health more than you might realize. At the same time, your lifestyle could impact the dog’s health, as well.

The two intersect quite a bit, and it’s important to familiarize yourself with those possibilities.

Being a pet parent isn’t easy, and these health intersections between your family and dog are only a few examples of why you have to constantly think one step ahead.

But, if you’re willing to put in a bit of extra effort, bringing a dog into your family can boost everyone’s physical and mental health, too. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at how to keep everyone safe and healthy with a new pet in the house.

Allergies – Human and Canine

More than 50 million Americans have different types of allergies. Unfortunately, many of those people are allergic to pet hair.

While cat dander is a more common allergy, there are plenty of individuals who start to get teary-eyed and congested around dogs, too.

Finding that out after you’ve already brought a dog into your home can be crushing. Thankfully, there are things you can do to make anyone with dog allergies in your home more comfortable, including:

  • Keeping your home as clean as possible
  • Regularly vacuuming and dusting
  • Getting your dog regularly groomed
  • Encouraging hand-washing or changing clothes after playing with the dog

Plenty of people with dog allergies still love their furry friends and can live together happily and healthily.

Keep in mind that your canine companion could also have allergies. Most of the culprits are food-related, as some of the most common allergies for dogs are things like dairy, wheat, and soy.

Make sure you understand the ins and outs of both human and canine allergies to keep everyone in your household breathing easier.

Home Dangers

More people are working from home than ever. While that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can sometimes be stressful with a dog constantly at your feet.

You might feel like you constantly have to “babysit” them just to protect them from home dangers – and there are plenty. It’s not uncommon for dogs to get into everything that can make them sick, from cleaning supplies to the garbage.

Even when your dog is outside, certain plants in your garden could make them sick. Having raised beds or planters can make it harder for your dog to reach them. But, what can you do inside when you’re trying to get things done and worried about your pup’s health?

Start with the obvious. Make sure anything that could potentially harm your dog is stored away securely. That will, at the very least, give you some peace of mind as you go about your day.

Unfortunately, things can still happen. If your dog is restless, energetic, or bored, they might still find ways to “explore” things they shouldn’t.

They could even become destructive. The last thing you want is to walk out of your home office to find that your couch has been destroyed.

Thankfully, there are things you can do to make working from home with your pet easier on both of you, including:

  • Establishing a daily routine
  • Exercising them early in the day (which will benefit your health, too!)
  • Having a designated “spot” for them while you’re working
  • Investing in the right toys to keep them busy
  • Practicing obedience

When your dog is busy and happy, you’ll be less stressed. Putting even a few of those tips into practice can make a big difference.

Risks When Your Dog is Sick

Unfortunately, just like people, pets can get sick sometimes. But, did you know that your dog’s health might impact your family’s health, as well?

Dogs can transmit several different bacterial and viral conditions to humans. If you have young children at home, they can be especially susceptible to these illnesses and can be the most negatively affected by them.

Dogs can cause everything from minor skin infections to serious illnesses and parasites.

You can keep your family healthy around your dog by:

  • Washing hands frequently
  • Disposing of your pet’s waste properly and safely
  • Training your dog not to scratch or bite

Taking your furry companion in for regular check-ups with a veterinarian is also an important key to keeping them (and your family) healthy. You don’t have to wait until you think there’s a problem to get your dog looked at by a professional.

By making sure they’re in good health, you’ll feel better about letting them give a few extra kisses to your kids.


As you can see, there are many ways the health of your dog and family intersect. Your main priority should be to keep everyone safe and healthy, which is absolutely possible with a bit of extra effort.

By understanding these intersections, you can be better prepared when you decide to bring a new best friend into your household.

Family walking their dog in the AutumnThe Intersection of Family Dogs and Family Health

The Intersection of Family Dogs and Family Health
Author Bio

Frankie Wallace is a frequent contributor to Small Dog Place.  She is a freelance writer from Boise, ID. If her spirit animal could be anything, it would be a beagle--inquisitive, and always searching for food.

More Articles by Frankie Wallace

If you found this article helpful, check out other posts written by Frankie Wallace.

Small Dog Obesity: Your Dog Isn't Chunky--It's Obese

The Benefits and Challenges of Having Pets in the Workplace

How to Guide Your Senior Dog Into Aging with Ease

How A Dog Can Promote Healthy Living

Separation, Divorce and Dog Ownership The Importance of Keeping a Dog in the Lives of Both People After a Separation

How to Care for Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs

How small dogs help cancer patients:  Having a Small Dog Can Boost Positivity for Cancer Patients

About Janice (author and voice behind this site)

Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, Janice served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu, but she has also lived with Poodles, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, Beagles, English Bulldogs, Carin Terriers, and a Cocker Spaniel.

When not writing, reading, and researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, husband, and family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu and Smart-Knit-Crocheting

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