Change your attitude, change your reality.
We truly believe, no, we know that a healthy dog is a happy dog and a happy dog has a happy owner who is a healthy owner. It all matters and it all goes back to each other.
When a body, human or dog, is healthy, the system is working smoothly and efficiently: your heart is in tandem with your lungs, blood sugar levels are even with digestive timing, your muscles support the joints and vice versa. And so on. And when your body parts are strong and functioning correctly and doing their job, you don’t notice them much (except sometimes when you feel your power and appreciate how strong your body is or if you are under the weather and temporarily under-functioning). And because all your minute to minute, hour-to-hour focus is NOT on your body, you are able to focus on things outside of you: thinking about the future and what you can do, thinking about how to make things better and being clever, focusing on expressing those feelings you can feel when even-keeled like affection and love and patience and empathy.
When the body is functioning as intended – i.e. healthy – you have a higher quality of life, dog or human. A higher quality of life allows you to do more: to imagine, create, stretch boundaries, enjoy simple comforts, have peace of mind most of the time, work hard, rest well and love limitlessly. You can call this happiness. Happiness is not about having fun all the time, it is a state where you can deal with life and be satisfied much of the time. When the body is healthy, the spirit can extend and do more and be happy and create a higher quality of life and create a better world. Making just one other creature satisfied, one makes the world a better place. Why not? Happiness from any creature spreads happiness from any creature multiplies and expresses itself in more patience, understanding, love.
- All too often dog owners are willing to spend money on orthopedic problems that develop from excessive weight. Weight loss alone often can alleviate problems with knees and hips. In 2011, veterinary costs for treating one incidence of diabetes ranged from $900 to $5,700. For obesity-related conditions of arthritis, cost per incident ranged from $2,000 to $9,600.
- Another problem, he finds, is that dog owners often are less likely to admit their dog is overweight than to admit they themselves are, he says. They’ll offer excuses, like “she’s too old to walk” or “she doesn’t have much time left so I spoil her with treats.”
- A growing body of scientific research is showing that our pets can also make us healthy, or healthier. One of the earliest studies, published in 1980, found that heart attack patients who owned pets lived longer than those who didn’t (Animal companions and one-year survival of patients after discharge from a coronary care unit, Public Health Rep., 1980).
- Rebecca Johnson, a nurse who heads the Research Center for Human/Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, studies have been focusing on the fact that interacting with animals can increase people’s level of the hormone oxytocin. “Oxytocin helps us feel happy and trusting.” Which, Johnson says, may be one of the ways that humans bond with their animals over time. has some powerful effects for us in the body’s ability to be in a state of readiness to heal, and also to grow new cells, so it predisposes us to an environment in our own bodies where we can be healthier.”
- Another early study found that petting one’s own dog could reduce blood pressure. (Physiological effects of human/companion animal bonding., 1984, Nursing Research)
- Those programs have clearly helped people get healthier, she says. Not only do they increase their exercise while they’re walking the dogs, “but it increases their awareness so that they exercise more during the week.”
- Walking the dog 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week produced an average weight loss of 14 pounds for participants in a University of Missouri-Columbia study. Study participants were economically disadvantaged and disabled, people who were not regular walkers. Those who followed this program for 50 weeks lost an average of 14 pounds.
- New data due out this week indicate the problem is reaching epidemic proportions, with more than half of U.S. dogs and cats now overweight or obese. Of pets considered to be “obese” – defined as 30% above-normal weight – one-fifth of dogs and cats fit the bill, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, which conducted the survey with Mars Inc.’s Banfield Pet Hospital, the nation’s largest general veterinary practice. When Man’s Best Friend Is Obese, WSJ, 2/ 22/11
- Researchers in Great Britain recently surveyed 5000 people and found that those with dogs exercised up to six hours more a week than those who worked out at a gym or on their own. 2010 Parade
“We need to move away from ‘food-centric’ relationships, where food equals love; and move toward an ‘exercise-centric’ relationship,” Zeltzman says. “Not only is it healthier for both, but also more rewarding.”