“I’ll make your life better than you can ever imagine.” – every pet
Live Longer & Happier
Pets are amazing companions who bring joy to our lives. Just ask any responsible pet owner and you’ll instantly see their face light up. But let me tell you, pets give more than joy, pets can help you live a healthier lifestyle, and add years to your life too. Go on, read on find out how pets help humans live longer…
1. The Nose Knows
Dogs have an incredibly keen sense of smell, and have been known to sniff out health conditions such as cancer and low blood sugar.
Cancerous tissue releases different chemicals than healthy tissue, and dogs may be able to recognize these differences. One study “showed a Labrador retriever trained in cancer scent detection correctly identified 91% of breath samples and 97% of stool samples from patients with colon cancer,” according to WebMD.
Some patients with type 1 diabetes have reported that their dogs alerted them to low blood sugar by licking or pushing them. It’s these close bonds that we form with our pets that draw them to be 100% tuned in to us.
2. Fewer Allergies
Having a pet may help reduce allergies and improve immunity in kids. One study found that “children who were exposed to pets before they were six months old were less likely to develop allergic diseases, hay fever, and eczema as they got older.” According to WebMD, “children with pets have higher levels of certain immune system chemicals and therefore have a stronger immune system. This will help keep them healthy as they get older.”
Sometimes too much protection from our environment and the pets that can bring so much joy to ones life may not the best solution.
3. Detecting Seizures
Some patients with epilepsy have reported that their dogs alert them before they have a seizure. The dogs alert their owner in different ways – sometimes by licking, others by tugging the person down toward the ground. “Some people believe the dogs are picking up on a scent change, while others speculate they’re detecting an electrical signal or subtle behavioral change that occurs before the seizure.”
Dogs uncanny ability to detect these subtle changes in humans have led to specialized training to assist people who have epilepsy. According to WebMD, “some are trained to bark and alert the parents when a child is having a seizure outside or in another room. Some lie next to a person having a seizure to prevent injury. And, some work has been done training dogs to warn before a seizure occurs. This gives the person time to lie down or move away from a dangerous place such as a hot stove.”
Now that’s a life saving skill at a low ticket price – love.
4. Animal Magnetism
Having pets can help increase opportunities for socializing. According to PetMD, “owning a pet helps people build stronger relationships among themselves.” Activities such as walking a dog can allow people to meet neighbors they might not otherwise have gotten to know. According to WebMD, “pet owners have a tendency to want to talk with other pet owners. A dog is a conversation waiting to happen. People, especially other people with dogs, will stop and talk with you when they see you walking your pet. Visiting a dog park lets you socialize with other pet owners while your dog socializes with their dogs.”
The local community aspect of the KirinGie.Me program is the perfect scenario to meet the pets next door and strengthen community bonds. Shameless plug, if you haven’t registered to keep up with our efforts to build a global community for pet owners, we’d love to have you pre-register to keep you posted.
5. A Workout Buddy
Everyone knows that exercise is more fun with a friend, and what better way to get a workout than taking your dog for a walk? A study at the University of Missouri found that people who walked their dogs improved their fitness more than people who walked with other people. A separate study found that dog owners also spent more time walking each week on average (300 minutes a week) compared to people who didn’t own dogs (168 minutes a week).
Taking your dog for a daily 30 minute walk, or for two 15 minute walks (one in the morning and one in the evening) will help you and your pet burn fat, build muscle, and meet the minimum recommendations for healthy physical activity.
Trust me, even on days when you just don’t want to take that walk and you push yourself to get out that door, once you are out there, take in that deep breath and enjoy the surrounding, you’ll be glad you did.
6. A Special Friend for Kids
Besides improved immunity and reduced allergies, research suggests that pet ownership may have other benefits during childhood. “When children are asked who they talk to when they get upset, a lot of times their first answer is their pet,” says Dr. James Griffin, an NIH scientist and an expert in child development and behavior. “This points to the importance of pets as a source of comfort and developing empathy. In fact, therapists and researchers have reported that children with autism are sometimes better able to interact with pets, and this may help in their interactions with people.”
No kids but you want to bring cheer to the community? There are so many opportunities out there to share your BFF fur-baby. Some people share with family, friends, school show and tell, or take it a step further by certifying their pet to bring joy to folks at senior care centers, and hospitals. Which brings us to…
7. Companionship For the Elderly
Caring for a pet can decrease loneliness among our elders. Additionally, “a new pet can stimulate someone to read up on an animal or breed, which can be very mentally stimulating and important at that age,” says Dr. Katharine Hillestad, a veterinarian at Doctors Foster and Smith.
According to the Austin Humane Society, pets also provide opportunities for exercise, “which can positively benefit individuals with illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and in the prevention of osteoporosis. In addition, doctors encourage their arthritis patients to watch their cats and stretch each time their cat does – this helps owners to remember to stretch and helps to relieve pain!”
Pets also benefit, especially when seniors adopt older pets. “These lucky pets go from the pound to paradise. Since most of the adopters are retired, they have lots of time to devote to a previously unwanted pet,” says veterinarian Dr. Tony Kremer.
Keep Pets In Homes
With these kinds of powerful testaments to the many benefits pets bring into our lives, it’s sad that so many end up homeless or in animal shelters instead of giving good people the pleasure of exercise, companionship or offering up their bellies for therapeutic rubs.
All pets are good. They just need responsible pet owners to work with them, understand them and train them to be the type of pet that becomes a pet for life.