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Posts Tagged ‘pet companion’

TomPuppy2

My brother-in-law and sister had to put their beloved dog to sleep a few months ago. Needless to say, this was a sad time for them. Tom (my brother-in-law) recently shared an observation about his weight during this time. When . they had to put their dog, Chippy to sleep, his average weight was 199. He noticed a weight gain of 9-10 pounds after this time. Since they brought home a new puppy, Chummy, his weight has dropped by 5 pounds!

What does this have to do with your health? According to the American Heart Association, owning a pet – a dog, in particular, can be good for your heart health.  This article supports the findings that my brother-in-law recently shared with me. The CDC also reports that having a pet can decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides levels and decrease your feelings of loneliness.

These factors may contribute to his recent weight loss:

  • Taking a walk at least twice a day with Chummy
  • Enjoying the social interaction with the new puppy
  • Spending time with the puppy which makes it easier to avoid snacking

If you can’t have or don’t want a pet, what can you do to improve your heart health? Go back to the basics:

Enjoy physical activity most days of the week for at least 30 minutes. It is fine to break up the 30 minutes into three 10-minute sessions. Adults should aim for 150 minutes per week.

Eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruits. Enjoy a wide variety of nutrient rich veggies & fruits. Be creative with the way you add them to your day. Start the day with a fruit or veggie for breakfast (think smoothie, veggies added to eggs, or a piece of fresh fruit).

Need more help? Visit MyPlate’s SuperTracker to customize your food and activity plan. It is free and easy and will help you on your wellness journey.

While you are enjoying the health benefits from you new (or old) pet, don’t forget basic cleanliness habits to keep you and your family from becoming ill. One reminder from CDC is to wash your hands after handling your pet, pet food or treats or if you pick up their stools.  Not sure how to wash your hands? Here are the basics on handwashing from CDC:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Do you need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them

Are these good reasons to get a pet? Yes! Remember that if you are ready for a new furry family member, it just might help your health!

Sources:

http://heartinsight.heart.org/Fall-2017/Is-Owning-a-Pet-Good-for-You/

https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health-benefits/

https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/pets/dogs.html

https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html

https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/resources/pet-food-tips_8x11_508.pdf

https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/myplan.aspx

Writer: Michelle Treber, OSU Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, OSU Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, rabe.9@osu.edu

 

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Chumlee and Big Hoss

Chumlee and Big Hoss

Pet ownership is a responsibility, and with this responsibility comes numerous health benefits including exercise, companionship, and unconditional love.

Nearly two years ago, while cleaning the gutters on our garage, my husband and I heard a “yelp” coming from under the weeping cherry tree at the end of the front deck.  A few minutes later, we heard another “yelp”, then much to our surprise; an adorably cute puppy (brown one pictured in the basket above) came running towards us.  After a few minutes of holding the puppy, it was back to work.  However, the puppy didn’t leave our sights.  Moments later, another “yelp”, another cute, adorable puppy had arrived from under the cherry tree (white one pictured in the basket above).  Needless to say, Chumlee (brown) and Big Hoss (white) have become vital members of our family providing companionship and unconditional love.

Lots of people have pets.  In the U.S., 69.1 million homes have at least one pet.  Most common are dogs (43.5 million) and cats (37.7 million).

While most pet owners are clear about the immediate joys that come with sharing their lives with animals, many remain unaware of the physical and mental health benefits that can also accompany the pleasure of playing with or snuggling up to a furry friend. It’s only recently that studies have begun to scientifically explore the benefits of the human-animal bond.  They are noticing the companionship of the animals affects us on four primary levels – physical, social, emotional and cognitive. These affects can lead to a number of health and life benefits.  The American Heart Association has linked the ownership of pets, especially dogs, with a reduced risk for heart disease and greater longevity.

A study at Cambridge University found that pet owners have fewer ailments and their overall well-being was improved.  A pet can have positive effects on its owner (s). Here are a few of the potential benefits.

  • Lower blood pressure and reduce stress.
  • Elevate mood and reduce loneliness, isolation and depression.
  • Lead to more social contacts and open the door to making new friends.
  • Create movement and increase exercise.
  • Fewer visits to the doctor and take fewer amounts of medications.
  • Offer unconditional love and daily doses of affection.
  • Offer a sense of security.
  • Help to deal with the loss of a spouse and other loved ones.
  • Provide an outward focus and decrease the emphasis on  personal problems.

Once you have known the experience of unconditional love and the many health benefits involved with caring for a pet, you realize the valuable role they play in your life and gladly take on the additional level of responsibility.

References:

http://www.helpguide.org/life/pets.htm

https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Statistics/Pages/Market-research-statistics-US-pet-ownership.aspx

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/horoscopes/companion-health-benefits-owning-pet-article-1.1598729

http://newsroom.heart.org/news/pets-may-help-reduce-your-risk-of-heart-disease

Written by:  Cindy Shuster, CFLE, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Reviewed by:  Liz Smith, R.D., L.D., Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, OSU Extension, North East Region

Reviewed by:  Kim Barnhart, Office Associate, OSU Extension, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA

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