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Amazing Health Benefits of Having a Dog

Amazing Health Benefits of Having a Dog 0

If you're dog owner, then you can relate to the old adage of a dog being a man's best friend. Dogs are known for companionship, but few dog owners realize the health benefits they gain by owning a dog. In fact, a recent study showed that dog owners live longer and healthier lives. Here are some of the reasons why:

1. Dogs Provide Meaning and Purpose to Your Life

One of the most obvious benefits of owning a dog is that it can give meaning to an otherwise abysmal life. It adds a level of responsibility that can translate into a more purposeful life. Just like having kids, a dog can work wonders for your mental health. In fact, for many people, owning a dog has helped them to cope with life and overcome such things as addiction.

2. Dogs Reduce Your Stress Levels

Most people are familiar with Bring Your Child to Work Day. But, did you know there is a benefit to bringing your dog to work? One study showed that people who bring their dog to work have less stress. Participants also felt like it helped to improve employee morale and productivity. If your employer doesn't allow dogs in the workplace, maybe it's a perk worth negotiating.

3. Dogs Keep You Active and Fit

Forgoing the gym membership and opting for a dog instead makes perfect sense. Why? Because people with dogs are more likely to be involved in walking and other physical activities than those who do not own a dog. While not every pet owner walks their dog, a dog can be a better motivator than even your closest friend. You might even lose weight.

4. Dogs Improve Your Heart Health

Worldwide, the No. 1 cause of death is cardiovascular disease. Studies have proven that dogs reduce the risk of heart disease and death, particularly in people who live alone. Because owning a dog typically increases your level of activity, the added exercise is beneficial for the heart. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that dog ownership also lowers blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

5. Dogs Keep You From Getting Lonely and Depressed

There's something about the power of petting and cuddling with a cute and furry dog. According to the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute, 74 percent of pet owners claim that pets help improve their mental health. That's why therapy dogs have been welcomed guests in hospitals and nursing homes. If you own a dog, their unconditional love and affection will keep loneliness, depression and other issues at bay.

6. Dogs Improve Your Social Life

If anyone has ever told you to get a life, a dog is a must-have. Harvard Medical School noted that having a pet helps to "create human-to-human friendships and social support." When it comes to meeting unknown neighbors, more dog owners (60 percent) met their neighbors than those who didn't have a dog. This makes sense because you're more likely to be about and about walking your dog and meeting people.

7. Dogs Lower the Risk of Allergies and Asthma in Children

Having a dog may protect your child or grandchild from developing allergies and asthma. Researchers found that children who are exposed to animals before age one have less of a risk of asthma when they are 6 years old. Other studies showed a reduced risk of allergies and eczema.

8. Dogs Detect and Manage Illnesses

Quite a number of research studies have shown that dogs are capable of detecting varying illnesses in their owners, including diabetes and cancer. There are many cases in which people have owned service dogs that have been trained to alert them to such things as seizures and low blood sugar. If you or a loved one suffer from a life-threatening disorder, a dog might just save your life.

9. Dogs Help You Grow Old Gracefully

Nobody likes the idea of getting old, but it's a fact of life with which you must come to terms. The good news is that a dog can actually help as you or a family member age. If you or someone you know has Alzheimer's, for example, a dog can lead to fewer of the outbursts associated with the disease.

10. Dogs Help You Live Longer

Want to increase your odds of living longer? Get a dog if you don't already have one. Dogs are linked to longevity and are the main reasons people with dogs have a 33 percent chance of living longer than those without. While this typically applies to people living alone, other studies have found that death risk decreases in multi-person homes too. If you have a hunting breed like a retriever or hound, that's even better.

Little did you know that having a dog provides this many health benefits. Dogs have been proven to help people live longer lives for a number of reasons from reducing the risk of heart disease and asthma to increasing physical and mental health. While this is just a small sampling, you'd be wise to check out many more. Whether you live alone or with family members, a dog offers so much more than just being a faithful friend.

  • Jennifer M
What People Food Is Safe To Feed Your Dog?

What People Food Is Safe To Feed Your Dog? 0

When at the dinner table or enjoying a snack, you might find it hard to ignore those cute little puppy dog eyes begging for a bite. While many types of human foods may seem harmless, some foods can cause physical, behavioral and social problems in the long run.

People Food Dogs Can Eat



Liver

Liver is the most beneficial type of meat you can feed your dog. In fact, it contains 10 to 100 times more vitamin A and B, iron, protein, CoQ10 and other nutrients which are great for energy, the immune system and heart health.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is known for its high protein content, and it contains vitamin B and E, niacin and healthy fats. Because dogs love the taste, it is often made into dog treats or placed inside Kong toys.

Carrots

Carrots, both raw and cooked, are good people foods because they are high in vitamin A and beta-carotene yet low in calories and fats. In addition to benefiting your dog's eyes and immune system, they also work wonders for keeping a dog's stools regular.

Quinoa

Quinoa, often called a superfood, contains many nutrients not found in other foods. From thiamin and riboflavin to calcium and iron, quinoa's healing properties protect your dog from heart disease, cancer and other ailments.

Popcorn

As a favorite snack of many households, you might wonder if popcorn is safe for dogs. Unsalted and unbuttered popcorn is a healthy source of fiber and minerals. Check for kernels to prevent choking.

Apples

Dogs like to eat apple slices as a treat. Apples contain vitamin K and C, calcium and fiber, which can help with hip dysplasia, heart problems and skin allergies.

Bread

In general, plain or wheat bread is safe for dogs as long as they contain no nuts, seeds, garlic or raisins. Bread is lacking in nutritional value, but it can sometimes help if your dog has ingested a foreign object or has an upset stomach.

People Food Dogs Cannot Eat

Ice Cream

You may be in the habit of giving your ice cream without realizing that it contains lactose, a dairy sugar. Most dogs are lactose intolerant so feeding them ice cream will likely cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Macadamia Nuts

While cashews and peanuts tend to be okay, macadamia nuts are the most harmful to dogs. Their unknown mechanism of toxicity can cause your dog to vomit, become weak and feverish, and develop tremors.

Chocolate

Chocolate and other foods featuring caffeine contain toxic substances called methylxanthines, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, thirst, seizures and even death. The highest levels occur in dark chocolate and baking chocolate.

Grapes

Grapes are one of those foods that you should never feed your dog. It's unclear why, but they can lead to severe illness and kidney failure. Raisins are unsafe as well.

Avocados

Avocados tend to be more harmful to animals other than dogs because they contain persin. However, persin may cause your dog to have an upset stomach, or the pits could get stuck.

Peaches

Although the fruity portions of peaches might not be harmful, the pits contain poisonous cyanide, which can cause many symptoms including abdominal pains, coma and cardiac arrest.

Raw Eggs

Raw eggs are a common ingredient of raw diets for dogs because they contain high levels of protein, amino acids and fatty acids. Although some pet owners swear by raw diets, uncooked eggs are often contaminated with bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

While some foods are perfectly fine to feed your dog on occasion, others can make your dog deathly ill. If your dog has got its paws on food on the "do not eat" list, call your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center right away.
  • Jennifer M
27 things you didn't know about dogs

27 things you didn't know about dogs 0

Man's best friend is furry, fun, and fascinating. How so? Well, here are just a few things you might not know about your four-legged BFF.

1. Dogs like rolling in smelly things as a status symbol.

No one knows exactly why they do it, but it could be that dogs see marking themselves with strong odors as a way to impress other dogs and humans with their overpowering scent. (Source)

2. Corgis are Vikings.

These little dogs probably descended from spitz breeds Vikings brought with them when they settled in what is now the United Kingdom, meaning corgis are likely cousins of Swedish and Norwegian hounds. (Source)

3. Corgis have the most accurate name ever.

Their name derives from two Welsh words: "cor," meaning "dwarf," and "ci," meaning dog. Hence, corgi -- dwarf dog. (Source)

4. Dogs' noses are powerful and unique.

A dog's nose is as unique as a human fingerprint and can be used to identify it. Each one also has over 300 million smell receptors, whereas humans have only five million.(Source)

5. Dogs curl up when they sleep to protect their bellies.

It's an instinct left over from their wild ancestors, who slept curled up to protect their vital organs from predators who might attack them while they slept. (Source)

6. Dogs aren't actually colorblind.

Dogs don't see a wide range of colors, but they do see blue and yellow. (Source)

7. . . . which means you should choose blue and yellow toys.

Because dogs can only distinguish blue and yellow, you can help your pup out by choosing toys in those colors. A yellow tennis ball stands out sharply to them; a bright red ball doesn't. (Source)

8. French poodles aren't actually French.

In fact, they're German. The word "poodle" derives from the German "pudelhund," meaning "splashing dog." (Source)

9. Dogs kick backwards after using the bathroom to mark their territory.

They use the scent glands in their paws to mark the territory as theirs. (Source)

10. Dogs are among the only animals to show voluntary, unselfish kindness.

One study shows that dogs voluntarily display kindness to others, even strangers, without the promise of reward. However, they're much more likely to help out their human and dog friends first. (Source)

11. A German shepherd named Orient guided a blind man across the Appalachian Trail.

Bill Irwin, the first blind man to navigate the 2,100-mile hike, spent eight months in 1990 making the trek with his faithful seeing eye dog, Orient. (Source)

12. Dogs' noses are wet to help absorb scents.

The wetness is a thin layer of mucus that aids in absorbing scent chemicals. Dogs then lick their noses to taste the chemicals. (Source)

13. Dogs' noses also help regulate temperature.

Dogs don't have sweat glands like we do, so they sweat from their nose and the pads of their feet. That's why your dog's nose is often cool and wet during warm weather. (Source)

14. A dry nose doesn't mean a sick dog.

And finally, many people believe a healthy dog always has a cold, wet nose, but that isn't always the case. That could just be normal for that dog. It's more important to know what is and isn't normal for your dog. (Source)

15. A Russian dog was the first live mammal to orbit space.

Laika, a stray dog, went up in the Soviet Sputnik in 1957. She died during her journey, but in an unexpected twist, her daughter Pushnika mated with President Kennedy's terrier, Charlie, and had four puppies. (Source)

16. Disney's 101 Dalmatians lied to us.

Dalmatian puppies aren't born with spots. They're born completely white and develop their spots as they grow. (Source)

17. Your dogs can have stinky sweat, too.

Just like your underarms stink when you sweat, your dogs' paws can smell too. They have sweat glands in their paws, and their natural sweat odor just happens to smell like corn chips. (Source)

18. The U.S. has the highest pet dog population.

Other countries have more wild and stray dogs, but the U.S. has the largest population of pet dogs, with approximately 70 million. Brazil comes in a distant second at about 36 million. (Source)

19. The "dog days of summer" is a Greco-Roman phrase.

Ancient Greeks and Romans used this term to refer to the hottest Mediterranean summer days, which usually occur when Sirius, the "dog star," rises. (Source)

20. You and your dog can make each other yawn.

You already knows yawns are contagious, but did you know you and your dog can trigger that response when you see each other yawn? (Source)

21. Dogs hike their legs when urinating to fake being taller.

They'll try to aim as high as possible on the tree or other vertical surface to tell other dogs that someone tall and intimidating was there. In Africa, some wild dogs even try to run up trees in an effort to urinate higher up and appear much taller than they are. (Source)

22. Kirsch, a service dog, got a degree from Johns Hopkins University in 2013.

The golden retriever attended all of his owner's classes in the university's mental health counseling program. When Carlos Mora graduated, his faithful friend was awarded an honorary master's degree as well. (Source)

23. Greyhounds are ancient . . .

The first bones belonging to an identifiable breed were those of an early greyhound from 9,000 BC. Greyhounds were probably used as hunting dogs. (Source)

24. . . .and also misnamed.

The name "greyhound" comes from a mistranslation of the German word "greishund," meaning "ancient dog." Greyhounds actually come in a variety of colors, not just gray. (Source)

25. Dogs can be left- or right-handed, er, pawed.

Unlike humans, who tend to use one hand over the other, dogs are equally skilled at using both front paws. However, they usually show a preference for either their left or right paw. (Source)

26. The Irish wolfhound is the tallest dog in the world.

Irish wolfhounds reach at least 32 inches tall at the shoulder. When standing on their hind legs, they can reach seven feet tall. (Source)

27. The largest dog on record was an English mastiff.

Zorba weighed 343 pounds and measured 8 feet, 3 inches from nose to tail. (Source)



  • Jennifer M
How to Maintain a Healthy Gut for Your Mutt

How to Maintain a Healthy Gut for Your Mutt 0

How to Maintain a Healthy Gut for Your Mutt

When it comes to the overall health of a dog, you might not consider the digestive system to be as significant as it is. The gut is connected to the entire body and plays a huge role in a dog's quality of life. Understanding how the gastrointestinal tract works and what happens when things go wrong are the first steps towards knowing how to maintain a healthy gut in your dog.

The Inner Workings of the Canine Gut

The gastrointestinal tract marks the path that food must travel from your dog's mouth all the way to its anus. Digestion begins as soon as your dog puts food in its mouth. A dog's saliva contains digestive enzymes that chemically break down the food. As the dog swallows, muscles in the esophagus push the food down toward the stomach. When food reaches the stomach, it is broken down even more by stomach acids. Now the nutrients, vitamins and minerals can be absorbed by the intestines, which is where beneficial bacteria is found and the balance of salts and fluid is maintained. Waste passes through the rectum and is eliminated as feces.

 

 

Beneficial Gut Bacteria

Naturally occurring bacteria in the intestines of dogs help to maintain a healthy balance in the digestive system. Five strains have been found to be most effective in dogs:

  1. Lactobacillus Acidophilus -- Eliminates disease-causing bacteria and facilitates the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines.
  2. Lactobacillus Plantarum -- Removes toxins that can cause diarrhea and irritate sensitive stomachs, and it helps strengthen the immune system.
  3. Lactobacillus Brevis -- Supports absorption of vitamins and nutrients in the digestive tract.
  4. Lactobacillus Fermentum -- Stops the growth of harmful bacteria that cause urinary tract, bladder and yeast infections.
  5. Lactobacillus Lactis -- Prevents the growth of unwanted bacteria and provides support for the roles the other beneficial bacteria must perform.

Most Common Disorders of the Gut

When the microorganisms in the gut get out of balance, your dog may show typical symptoms of digestive disorders. This disruption in gut health can allow harmful bacteria to grow and cause intestinal infections and associated diarrhea, irritation and vomiting. Bleeding, bloating and constipation can result from issues with the intestines, as well as the stomach and rectum. Viruses can also be culprits of severe infections, including kennel cough, parvovirus and canine hepatitis. While some dogs may merely have sensitive stomachs, others may require more drastic measures to fight illness.

Connections Between the Gut and Entire Body

It's not that obvious, but a dog's gut is connected to their entire body, from the immune system to their mind. You'll probably be surprised to learn that 80 percent of the immune system resides in the gut. The bacteria that live in the intestinal tract significantly impact your dog and its ability to fight infection. Poor gut health can make your dog miserable both physically and mentally. Maintaining the good bacteria in your dog's gut and keeping harmful bacteria at bay is vital to a dog's overall well-being.

Best Dog Supplements for a Healthy Gut

There are many supplements on the market designed to improve canine gut health. The most effective dog probiotics are those that contain the relevant strains of Lactobacillus, along with pea flour, garbanzo flour, flaxseed meal, lecithin, duck, egg powder, cod liver oil, salmon oil, glycerin, carrot, celery, beet, watercress, spinach, triglycerides and crystalline cellulose. The combination of ingredients not only helps to treat digestive disorders and relieve associated symptoms but also boosts the immune system, prevents infection, minimizes allergies, supports dental health, and improves the appearance of the skin and coat.

Keeping your dog's gut healthy is easy once you have a basic understanding of the digestive tract. Choosing the right supplements can make all the difference when it comes to your pet's happiness. 

  • Jennifer M