Study Finds Dog Ownership Significantly Improves the Health of Seniors

The correlation between pet ownership and our mental and physical well-being has been well-documented.  Sharing our lives with dogs, cats, and other companion animals makes us happy, and has health benefits like lowering stress and blood pressure.  But owning a dog and taking your best friend outside for regular walks and play sessions can be particularly beneficial for sedentary older adults.

A study published in the journal BMC Public Health examined the physical activity of seniors living in a retirement community, and compared the activity levels of dog owners versus non-dog owners.  43 pairs of dog owners and non-dog owners were studied, using both activity monitoring devices and detailed questionnaires.

The results?  The dog owners demonstrated a significantly greater amount of time engaging in physical activity than those seniors who did not have dogs.  They spent an average of 22 additional minutes per day walking.  Measured in steps, they walked around 2760 more steps per day than the non-dog owners.  The walking was of a moderate intensity.  The dog owners also had fewer “sitting events” than the more sedentary non-dog owners.

The happy conclusion?  In addition to the many mental health benefits of dog ownership, it can be an important way to incorporate regular, healthy activity into the lives of seniors.

 

Clear the Shelters Day is Saturday, August 19th!

It’s coming…the annual event known as Clear the Shelters Day is happening this Saturday, August 19th at animal shelters around the U.S.  Clear the Shelters is an event sponsored by local NBC and Telemundo television stations around the country to encourage shelter pet adoptions.  Many shelters will waive adoption fees on Saturday, so it’s the perfect time to open your heart to a shelter pet in need of a loving forever home.

Check out this map on the Clear the Shelters website to find a participating shelter in your community.  And here’s a cute video from sponsor VIP Pet Care to get you in the mood!

 

How to Make a Pet Emergency Preparedness Kit

Few regions of the U.S. are free from the risk of natural disasters like wildfires, floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes.  Even if you live in an area that is relatively safe from weather-related disasters, other emergencies (such as a house fire) can force you to quickly evacuate your home unexpectedly.

If you have dogs, cats, or other pets it’s important to make sure that you are prepared to care for your pets in an emergency.  Experts recommend putting together a pet emergency preparedness kit so that you and your pets are ready for an emergency evacuation.  What exactly should you put in your pet emergency kit?  The Humane Society of the United States has compiled a handy checklist.  Here’s a brief rundown, you can check out their website for more details.

Essentials

  • Food and bottled water for at least 5 days. Don’t forget about food bowls and a manual can opener, too.
  • Medications, a first aid kit, and veterinary records (stored in a waterproof container).
  • Litter box, kitty litter, scoop, and waste disposal bags.
  • Sturdy leashes, harnesses, and carriers (with bedding). Make sure the ID on your pet’s collar is up to date as well.
  • Current photographs of you with your pets and written descriptions of your pets, in case you get separated.
  • Written instructions on your pet’s care, feeding, behavior, and health conditions (plus your veterinarian’s contact info) in case you need to board your pets.

Other useful items

  • Newspapers
  • Paper towels
  • Trash bags
  • Grooming supplies
  • Bleach

Interested in learning more?  Check out this informative video:

 

Happy International Cat Day!

Today is International Cat Day, the purrfect time to celebrate our love of cats.  The International Fund for Animal Welfare started this tradition back in 2002. The staff at Time/Life have put together a collection of 25 iconic cat photographs from their archives.  Be sure to check them out HERE and post a picture of your classic cat on social media with the hashtag #InternationalCatDay!

Image:  Sharon Adams, 10, playing in a snow drift as her cat maintains its comfortable perch atop her head. (Photo by A. Y. Owen/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)