A pet is so much more than an enthusiastic greeter when you arrive home each day. They are a companion, a protector, some thing to love and a major factor in extending your healthy life.

Dr Marty Becker, DVM, a veterinarian was the guest on People’s Pharmacy on July 1st to talk about the healing power of pets – dogs, cats and horses in particular. He described several scenarios as well as research studies performed by DUMC, Washington State University, Mayo Clinic and other notable centers that illustrated and even confirmed how pets can heal. One person said that the only time she wasn’t in pain was when her little dog licked her feet when she got home from work each day. Pets can reduce anxiety and feelings of irritation. Relaxation was measured by release of biochemicals such as oxytosin, endorphins, lowered cortisol and cholesterol and decreased blood pressure.

If you have a pet you are more likely to be healthier than those without out one. You’re going to move more – to let the dog in and out, to shop for their food and feed them and to groom them. Pet owners are more likely to walk several times a week than those who lack that special motivator.
Post cardiac patients have a longer survival when they have a pet. For example cardiac patients who have a dog are 8 times more likely to be alive 1 year after their heart attack than those who didn’t come home to a dog. Stressed out stock brokers with pets had lower blood pressure, decreased cholesterol and were more active that non-pet owners. Sixty percent (60%) came off their blood pressure medications. In another study people who had cats were 30% less likely to have a heart attack and 40% less likely to have a cardio vascular accident or a stroke.

Dr. Edward Craigen, former president of the Mayo Clinic specializing in oncology, palliative care and hospice, actually prescribed “get a dog” to 30% of his patients to help them deal with their symptoms more effectively. Dogs can anticipate seizures, breathing difficulties (i.e. apnea) and impending heart attacks. Having a dog decreases stress giving you something to focus on beside your worries. Pets often make you laugh at least once a day.

So if you thought you were rescuing a pet from an unhappy ending; look again. A dog may be able to save your life or make life more comfortable. Dogs give you something to love and the love you share with your pet could save your life. Attend our lunch and learn How Much is that Doggie in the Window?on July 12th at Bistro 618 at http://www.qilady.com