In a recent post, we paid tribute to our cat-loving readers and subscribers who have uploaded some captivating photos of their feline companions.
Well, it just so happens our subscribers and readers have uploaded plenty of great photos of their canine companions, too. So, without further delay, let’s give the dog lovers among us their due, too.
The Benefits of Having a Dog
Along with many of the obvious benefits relating to companionship, affection, and entertainment, there appear to be health benefits associated with owning a dog. ABC News reports that having a dog can help your health by impacting:
“For people with all forms of anxiety, having a dog may be an important coping mechanism. This is especially true in times of crisis.” A Medical College of Virginia study has found that “for hospitalized patients with mental health issues, therapy with animals significantly reduced anxiety levels more than conventional recreational therapy sessions.”
- Cardiovascular health
“Research has supported a connection between owning a dog and reduced risk of cardiovascular problems, including high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels. In addition, a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology found that male dog owners were less likely to die within one year after a heart attack than those who did not own a dog.”
“In the setting of a severe illness or prolonged hospitalization, therapy dogs can be integral in the process of rehabilitation. A review of the literature looking at the function of service dogs proved that dogs can assist people with various disabilities in performing everyday activities, thereby significantly reducing their dependence on others.”
- Doctor visits
“A national survey out of Australia found that dog … owners made fewer annual doctor visits and generally had significantly lower use of general practitioner services.”
(Quotes courtesy of ABC News)
Dogs and Seniors
Many of the benefits outlined above apply especially to seniors. Here are some further benefits of pet and dog ownership as described by petinsurance.com, a leading provider of pet health insurance plans:
- Pets Encourage Seniors to Stay Active
“The general care associated with a pet can help seniors live more energetic lives. As any pet owner knows, animals need attention and keep us active — whether we want to be or not. Pets help seniors establish routines and get them to do things they might not normally do, such as getting outside and walking their dog … or playing with their pet.”
- Pets Make Great Companions for Seniors
“Pets can give an elderly person a great sense of self and help increase self-esteem since pets need and rely on their owners for virtually every aspect of their caretaking. Seniors also benefit from the unconditional love and affection their pets give them. … Additionally, having a pet — especially a dog — can give seniors a great sense of safety just by the barking which can keep unwanted visitors away.”
- Pets Help Our Hearts
“Studies show that older pet-owning citizens have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels than non-owners, helping to reduce their risk for heart disease and decrease their number of visits to the doctor. Additionally, a number of other studies suggest that pet owners have a better chance for long-term survival after surviving a coronary event than non-pet owners.”
- Pets Help the Elderly Overcome Depression and Loneliness
“Caring for a cat or dog helps elderly people overcome depression or loneliness. Whether that be from the loss of a loved one, not having family or friends nearby to interact with, or not being able to get out much, having a fluffy friend gives older citizens a sense of purpose since they have to take care of their pet and think about things other than their own problems.”
(Quotes courtesy of PetInsurance.com)
It appears benefits of canine companionship extend to seniors with certain serious conditions. WebMD quotes Lynette Hart, PhD, Associate Professor at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, as reporting, “Studies have shown that Alzheimer’s patients have fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home.”
We’ve already seen some photos subscribers and readers have uploaded of their precious dogs. If you have any priceless canine photos to share, please upload them so that we can feature them on our Facebook banner. We’re also making plans for another photo contest, and we’re looking forward to seeing the very best photos you’ve got of your dog or dogs.
What do you find best about having a dog? Leave a comment below!
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