How Walking Your Dog Improves Health and Well-Being

Many dog owners enjoy daily walks with their dogs, and for good reason.  Walking your dog is a great way for you and your dog to get exercise, enjoy your time together, and meet up with other people and their dogs.

But did you know that nearly 40% of all dog owners rarely or never walk their dogs?  There are lots of reasons for this.  Many owners simply let their dogs out in the yard.  People who work long hours often hire dog walkers.  Some owners of small dogs have trained them to do their business inside.

An exercise physiologist was interested to see if she could “trick” dog owners into walking their dogs.  The New York Times summarized her interesting study.

She invited a group of dog owners who said they seldom walked their dogs to a special dog obedience class.  They were told the class was designed to improve their dogs’ on-leash behavior, but it was really done to monitor the humans’ activity!

Half of the participants were enrolled in the class and half were wait-listed.  The people taking the class were asked to record their dogs’ activity outside of class, but the researchers were really monitoring the people.

Results showed that the class participants did end up walking their dogs for a few minutes more per week than those not in the class, but not as much as the researchers were hoping to see.

The class participants did report feeling closer to their dogs and happier about their dogs’ behavior, confirming that going for walks is a great way to improve the bond with your dog.

 

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FACE Partners with Elevate Foundation to Help Pet Owners in Need

Recently, FACE partnered with the Elevate Foundation to pass out pet supplies and resources in Downtown San Diego.  The Elevate Foundation’s mission is to identify individuals of need in our community and partner with other non-profits (and donors) to provide them with support and assistance.

Friend of FACE, Dr. Corey Cole of Lifetime Animal Care Center, provided flea control and veterinary advice to pet owners in need. Together, we were able to help over 65 pet owners and their pets!

Thank you to both the Elevate Foundation and Lifetime Animal Care Center for your support.

FACE is so thankful for the community partnerships that enable us to lend a helping hand to pet owners in need. We have been able to give over 600 pet owners access to resources and supplies thanks to the network of community organizations who partner with us.

 

Summer Pet Safety Tips

The Summer Solstice is this Thursday, June 21st!  Summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors with your pets, but be sure you are prepared to keep them safe when the weather is hot.

The Arizona Humane Society has created some very helpful infographics on summer pet safety…because our friends in Arizona know a thing or two about hot weather!

Check out these important tips!

And this guide to heat exhaustion in pets:

Have a safe and happy summer!

 

 

How Pet Ownership Can Improve Mental Health

There are many physical and emotional health benefits that come from sharing your life with a dog, cat, or other companion animal.  We all know how cuddling with a beloved pet lowers our stress, and walking a dog provides a great opportunity for exercise.

The mental health benefits of pet ownership can help people struggling with many different issues.  According to the Human Animal Bond Research Institute, having a pet can help with a wide range of problems, including:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Childhood Development
  • Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
  • PTSD and Trauma

Many evidence-based studies show that a pet can be an important component of your emotional well-being.

One recent British study of people with long-term mental health conditions found that pets are a “main” and not just a “marginal” source of support in mental health management.  Pets offer several benefits (particularly for people with limited social networks), including:

  • Providing a secure and intimate relationship not available elsewhere.
  • Helping people manage feelings by providing a distraction from upsetting experiences.
  • Providing an incentive for increased engagement and activity.

People participating in substance abuse treatment can also find pets to be very helpful in the recovery process.  Treatment providers outline such benefits as:

  • Improved social life.
  • Reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • Giving people a sense of purpose (especially when they adopt a homeless animal).

If you are thinking about opening your home to a new pet, make sure you fully understand the requirements of pet ownership first.  Check out this comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about pet adoption HERE.

 

Your Dog Ate Chocolate: Here’s How to Calculate How Much is Too Much

Oh no, your dog just got into some chocolate!  How do you know if the amount eaten is a danger to your pet which requires an emergency visit to the veterinarian’s office?

The PetMD website has created a chocolate toxicity meter for dogs.  You can quickly enter your dog’s weight, the type of chocolate, and the amount eaten to find out if your dog needs to get to the vet ASAP.

Sometimes a very small amount of chocolate eaten by a large dog requires nothing more than observing your dog for symptoms such as vomiting and restlessness.  However, a small dog that eats several ounces of chocolate might be in more danger and require immediate veterinary attention.

Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which are toxic to dogs.  Dark chocolate poses a higher risk than milk chocolate.

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, rapid breathing, seizures, and even cardiac failure and coma in severe cases.

In addition to the toxicity meter, check out PetMD for a handy guide on the theobromine and caffeine content of popular chocolate products, such as M&Ms and Peanut Butter Cups.

On the same page, you can also see a list of the types of chocolate that have the highest amount of theobromine (unsweetened cocoa and baking chocolate top the list).