Benefits of Dog Ownership

There are many acknowledged benefits of owning a pet. A pet fills your heart with love. Pets are a great way to beat the blues as they offer unconditional love and give us a sense of purpose. My furry friends bring me joy, happiness and often laughter in their companionship. Pet ownership gives us an instant icebreaker, whether Brandy Kissing Macthey’re with you or you’re just using them as a topic of conversation. It is believed that we get sick less. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) have both conducted heart-related studies on people who have pets. The findings showed that pet owners exhibit decreased blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. For those who have already experienced a heart attack, research indicates that patients with a dog or a cat tend to have better recovery rates as they help reduce their owners’ overall stress levels.

“Studies have shown that Alzheimer’s patients have fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home,” says Lynette Hart, PhD, associate professor at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Dogs are often used to detect cancer and epileptic seizures.

webbrandywally1Dogs act as the perfect personal trainer, because they need to be walked several times a day. According to studies, like those conducted by the Wellness Institute at Northwest Memorial Hospital, you’ll gain the rewards when you walk your furry friend, which can include losing — or at least maintaining — weight. Research conducted by the National Institute of Health also supports this claim in a study of more than 2,000 adults, which found that dog owners responsible for walking their furry friends are less likely to be obese than dog owners who pass the duty off to someone else or those who don’t own dogs at all.

Pet Wellness For Our Furry Friends

Clearly, our furry friends are extremely helpful in helping us deal with life.  But, with all the benefits of pet ownership, what do we do to help our furry friends live a longer and happier life?

brandybranchsmWe can nurture our furry friends with good nutrition and as they get older they benefit from vitamins just as we do.  Keeping them vaccinated is important as well and I have used holistic therapies with good benefits. My little schnauzer had back problems and found spinal manipulation worked extremely well and eliminated both pain and the problem. My daughter’s little basset/beagle mix has had back surgery and continues to get holistic treatment to keep her back healthy.  Dogs also like veggies which are healthy for them too.  My dogs like not only green beans and asparagus, but they like pumpkin and blueberries which I put on the top of their food as a special treat.

It is important that their life be fun too and it doesn’t take much to do interesting things with our furry friends.  My golden doodle, Brandy, loves watching baseball and tennis. In the above picture she went hiking with me and chose a stick to carry with her. She likes following the light with the balls. Just giving them different toys to play with help give them a good life. Exercise is a healthy lifestyle for not only us but our furry friends. Scratching posts are great for our cats and dogs can get exercise in the house as well as outside. Mine love catching their tennis balls or soft toys and will often play games cIMG_2224smhasing each other around the couch or dining room table. Mac, my schnauzer, would get Brandy running around the dining room table and then sit under it and watch her run around it.  Social relationships are important. Strong bonds mean protection from loneliness and depression for both us and our furry friends. It isn’t the amount of time as much as the quality of time. Cuddling up with you while you read or watch television are important for bonding too.

Spay or neuter your furry friend. It actually protects them against cancer in the later years. After running a spay/neuter fund and a pet rescue operation for 12 years I saw firsthand the problems when animals are not spayed or neutered and saw the need for companionship for our dogs and cats.

Mac and JakePlay and bond with your furry friend. Go for daily walks, if you can, as it is healthy for you both. If not give them new toys and experiences. My golden doodle, Brandy, loved the beach and swimming in the ocean. My schnauzer, Mac, put one toe in the water and said “I don’t think so,” and sat back away from the water. It won’t take long to know what they like. Training also is important because our furry friends are intelligent and love to learn new things. That can also be a form of exercise. I practice heeling and tricks around the house with my golden doodle. Once you find your furry friend’s favorite activity, do it as often as you can.

What are your questions about Pet Wellness? What do you do with your furry friend to enhance their life? What does your furry friend do to make you laugh? Share with me! Take time to stop and smell the roses, and enjoy life with your furry friends. Safe journeys until next week :).