Doesn’t your jaw drop reading the latest stories about what dogs do for us? From alerting us when there’s danger (fire in the house), or an imminent medical situation (seizure), to dialing a phone for emergency assistance … and so, so, so much more. I’m sure you all have incredible stories to share. These go far beyond the love and companionship that we can always count on from our adoring four-legged family members. These are stories of true heroes.
But the other thing that constantly amazes me is the growing mound of evidence proving the health benefits of owning a dog or cat. For example, a recent study done by the University of Missouri-Columbia involving people between the ages of 19 and 73 showed that the depression-fighting hormone, serotonin, rises after petting a dog.
Stress-reduction is a major area of concern in our over-booked, over-stimulated, over-worked lives. Research showed New York stockbrokers who owned dogs and cats to have lower blood pressure than those who did not. The mere act of petting a dog has shown to reduce blood pressure. (I know it does for me!)
Some studies have shown that dog owners have higher survival rates after a serious illness. The result of one study showed heart attack patients with dogs were twice as likely to be alive one year after their heart attack than those without dogs. The explanation? The patient’s desire to get better because of the need to take care of their dog.
Children with autism have been helped by dogs and cats. They’re better able to interact with pets and this, in turn, helps their ability to interact with people. In fact, animal-assisted therapies are proving to be successful in so many different arenas.
Our overall health is improved with a dog because it means we actually have to get off our rear ends and take them for walks! The more, the better, too – for us and for our dogs!
Let me know of any research you’ve read. It’s truly amazing. And let’s not forget our obligation, then, to our dogs and cats. It’s incumbent upon us to provide them with the best possible nutrition and care. From complete and balanced, quality food like Organix or Natural Ultramix, to regular visits to the vet for check-ups, to exercise, to a supply of fresh water at all times. They really don’t ask much from us at all, and yet they give us so much. Let’s make sure we give them what they deserve … the best.