Why Man's Best Friend is Man's Best Friend (Part 1)


Chloe and me on our daily walk through the high desert park. 
Picture by Susan Sams

Those of us who truly love our dogs, probably already know the many benefits they bring to our daily life. They not only offer us companionship, but they also provide us with physical, emotional and social assistance. Early last month, I came across an article from one of the online pet stores that I typically frequent. The website, Doctors Foster and Smith, (www.drsfostersmith.com) educates their customers with interesting articles throughout the year. The following is Part 1 of their article titled,

"Why Man’s Best Friend is Man’s Best Friend (Part 1)"

For over 15,000 years dogs have worked to earn the distinction of being "man's best friend." Dogs have not only offered love and affection, but worked side-by-side with their human counterpart for centuries. A vast assortment of studies have been conducted to research the physical, emotional, and social benefits of canine companionship.

Physical Benefits of Dog Companionship

Increase longevity after heart attacks. Dog ownership increases the odds for survival in persons who have had a heart attack from 1 in 15 to 1 in 87.

Lower cholesterol and triglycerides. People with pets have been found to have lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels when compared to people who did not have pets, even when matched for weight, diet, and smoking habits.

Decrease blood pressure and reduce stress. Studies of people undergoing stress tests or physical examinations have demonstrated that the presence of a dog lowered their heart rate and blood pressure during testing.

Increase physical activity and functioning. People who own pets often have better physical health due to the need to exercise and care for their pets.

Reduce medical appointments and minor health problems. The use of prescription drugs and the overall cost of caring for patients in nursing homes dropped in those facilities where companion animals became part of the therapy.

Predict seizures. Some people who have periodic seizures have reported that their dogs can sense the onset of a seizure before they can. Now it has been found that dogs can be specially trained to recognize some type of change prior to a seizure, and signal the owner of the imminent seizure. These dogs are called 'seizure-alert' or 'seizure-response' dogs, and can be trained to signal their owners’ from 15 to 45 minutes prior to a seizure.

Alert to hypoglycemia. There are also animals who alert their owners to episodes of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which allows the owner to correct the level before serious symptoms develop.

In Part 2 of this article, the author will list how our dogs offer us both emotional and social assistance. So, stay tuned.

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