How Pets Can Improve Your Health

Peaceful coexistenceExpert cites scientifically-proven therapeutic, physical and emotional health benefits of loving and caring for a pet

Pet ownership runs far deeper than simply caring for a possession. Yes, the sheer responsibility of caring for a pet has notable benefits in and of itself. But, pets also become bona fide family members with which we establish genuine relationships—incomparable emotional bonds that can have extraordinarily positive physical and psychological impacts on humans.

Below, Paul Mann, Founder and CEO of FETCH! Pet Care, spotlights many of the well-proven therapeutic and health benefits of pets, as reported on www.HelpGuide.org:

  • The average domestic pet, such as a dog, cat—even a goldfish—can provide many therapeutic and health benefits. Pets can ease loneliness, reduce stress, promote social interaction, encourage exercise and playfulness, and provide unconditional love and affection. Caring for a pet may even help you live longer.
  • The American Heart Association has linked the ownership of pets, especially dogs, with a reduced risk for heart disease and greater longevity.

Studies have also found that:

  • Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.
  • People with pets have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets.
  • Playing with a pet can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
  • Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels (indicators of heart disease) than those without pets.

While people with dogs often experience the greatest health benefits, a pet doesn’t necessarily have to be a dog or a cat. Even watching fish in an aquarium can help reduce muscle tension and lower pulse rate.

For children, pets provide many emotional and physical benefits, including:

  • Children who grow up with pets not only have less risk of allergies and asthma.
  • Many also learn responsibility, compassion, and empathy from having pets.
  • The mere presence of pets at home can help provide a sense of security in children. Having an ever-present dog or cat, for example, can help ease separation anxiety in children when mom and dad aren’t around.
  • Studies have also shown that pets can help calm hyperactive or overly aggressive kids.
  • Playing with a pet can even be a doorway to learning for a child. It can stimulate a child’s imagination and curiosity. The rewards of training a dog to perform a new trick, for example, can teach kids the importance of perseverance.

For older individuals, pets can play an important role in healthy aging by:

 

  • Helping you find meaning and joy in life. As you age, you’ll lose things that previously occupied your time and gave your life purpose. You may retire from your career or your children may move far away. Caring for a pet can bring pleasure and help boost your morale and optimism. Taking care of an animal can also provide a sense of self-worth. Choosing to adopt an animal from a shelter, especially an older dog or cat, can add to the sense of fulfillment, knowing that you’ve provided a home to a pet that may otherwise have been euthanized.
  • Staying connected. Maintaining a social network isn’t always easy as you grow older. Retirement, illness, death, and moves can take away close friends and family members. And making new friends can get harder. Dogs especially are a great way for seniors to spark up conversations and meet new people.
  • Boosting vitality. You can overcome many of the physical challenges associated with aging by taking good care of yourself. Pets encourage playfulness, laughter, and exercise, which can help boost your immune system and increase your energy.

“With such a vast number of benefits associated with pet ownership, how wonderful it would be for every home in America to have a domestic animal to take care of and love…and to be loved by,” notes Mann. “While schedules can make it difficult for some to bear the responsibility of a pet, resources such as professional in-home pet walkers and sitters are available to ensure Fido and Felix not only receive food, water and outdoor time, but also love, affection and even physical fitness when the owner is away for extended periods. Such services make it feasible for individuals and families to own pets, and enjoy the copious physical and emotional benefits related thereto, when they otherwise could not.”

Source:
http://www.helpguide.org/life/pets.htm
Authors Lawrence Robinson, Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.

Paul Mann is the Founder and CEO of Fetch! Pet Care—the nation’s largest and most trusted franchisor for professional pet sitting, dog walking, and pet fitness/exercise services—serving thousands of pets and pet parents throughout the United States from coast to coast. He may be reached online at: www.FetchPetCare.com.

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Give your dog the best dog food for the best health! #GetHealthyHappy

BabyOutside

As part of the Hill’s® Science Diet® “Healthier Pets. Happier Lives.” campaign, I’m sharing tips to help you keep your pets happy and healthy. Today’s topic, as you might have already guessed, is the importance of proper nutrition.

Good health starts with the right diet, and this isn’t just true for people! Pets need proper nutrition to live healthy and happy lives.

With so many products on the market it can be hard to know if you have made the right choice. Luckily there is a lot of information to help pet parents make good choices when it comes to what to feed your pet. You can even take this quiz: Is my pet eating quality food? And as always, the best source of information is your veterinarian!

Dr. Ashley Gallagher, vet at the Friendship Hospital for Animals in Washington D.C., explains three easy ways to keep your pet healthy and happy:

When you have made the decision to switch your dog or cat’s food to something healthier for them, be sure to transition your pet’s food gradually to avoid stomach upsets. Hill’s has some helpful guidelines for transitioning your dogs or cat’s diet.

They also have many varieties of food for different nutritional needs. We feed our Maltese Baby adult formula in her favorite flavor, chicken. Even though she is considered a senior, our vet recommended that we keep her eating adult food instead because she has a hard time gaining weight. She is also a finicky eater, luckily we got great tips from the Hill’s website on how to help her overcome that!

Even super heroes need proper nutrition!
Even super heroes need proper nutrition!

We all love our pets and want what is best for them, and making sure they have the nutritional support they need is just one of many ways we help our pets be healthy and happy!

downloadWin $100 toward your next vet check up and a rebate, too!
Your vet can be your best resource for helping sort out your pet’s health and nutrition needs, and Hills’ wants to help by giving you the chance to win $100 toward your next vet check up. Visit Hill’s Science Diet to learn more!

Hill’s Science Diet also has several foods to help manage your pet’s special situation or condition whether it’s weight loss, or even a grain free diet, and many others, there is sure to be something for every pet. Hill’s is offering a $10 off promotion on select Hill’s Science Diet products so you can try them for your pet. Download your rebate on the Hill’s Science Diet website.

This post is sponsored by Hill’s. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill’s® Science Diet® Healthier Pets. Happier Lives., but 4 the Love of Animals only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.

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How To Have A Very Bad Dog (and a giveaway)!

Bad DogThis is a hilarious little book all about how to ruin your dog! Or as the cover says, how to ruin your pooch deliberately and with skill!

It covers everything, from how to choose your future bad dog, to what types of accessories to get for it. And yes, what it’s really doing is showing you everything NOT to do, while teaching the right things in a hilarious way.

This fun little book comes from one of our favorite sites, Knock Knock. They have a variety of items to help add humor to your life, while also being quiet useful. I especially love their notepads.

One lucky reader will win a $50 gift card to Knock Knock, so you too can learn ‘How to Have a Very Bad Dog’, and get some other goodies for your home!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Can’t wait to find out if you won? Use code ’4THELOVE’ for 20% off your order (one time use per customer, expires 9/22/14).

Thanks to Knock Knock for providing the prize for this giveaway, and a copy of the book for my review!

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Healthy pets see their vets! #GetHealthyHappy

IMG_3997What makes a healthy pet? Regular exercise, good food, and yes, regular visits with your veterinarian!

According to a recent petMD poll, nearly 2 in 10 pet owners hadn’t visited their vet for a routine checkup in the past year. Sure a visit to the vet can be a bit stressful sometimes, but it’s so worthwhile!

According to Dr. Ashley Gallagher, of Friendship Hospital for Animals in Washington, D.C., missing your pet’s yearly check up is like missing 5 years of checkups! You wouldn’t go that long without a check up, make sure your pet doesn’t either.

Our dog Baby actually enjoys visiting her “friends” at the vet’s office, partly because she gets to see them so often! We like to make it fun for her by getting her “dressed up” and making a fuss when we get home about what a good girl she was.

All dressed up to visit the vet.
All dressed up to visit the vet.

Baby visits the vet once a month for shots to help her with her back. This is an ongoing problem that she has had since she was a puppy, but that was luckily caught early on during her regular check ups.

Some people put off regular check ups because they worry about the cost, however, regular vet visits can potentially save money in the long run by spotting problems early.

Of course, it’s not just about saving money. We all want our pets to be happy and healthy, and with us for as long as possible.

Did you know that your vet can help you choose the best diet for your pet? There was a time when we had to help our Baby lose weight because she had a thyroid problem. With the correct medication and a healthy diet, she has been at her correct weight for several years now!

downloadHill’s Science Diet is giving away $100 toward a vet checkup, every day for 90 days! They believe in helping pets live healthy and happy lives! To enter simply go to http://blogp.ws/1w2TSJJ  and fill out form!

This post is sponsored by Hill’s and the Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Weight Food, but 4 the Love of Animals only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.

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