We all love our cats and think they should be stars. Whether it’s talking cats, surprised cats, dramatic or athletic cats, this list will tickle your funny bone with ten examples of the finest feline videos on the Internet.
On a recent visit to a local hospital I saw the most peculiar sight, strolling down the hall was the most delightful looking beagle. It turns out the local hospital had started a therapy dog program and this was one of the first visits.
Therapy dogs and other therapy animals are very effective in providing stress relief, mood improvement, and help patients overall mental well-being. Animal therapy can be provided by many different types of animals, with the most common being dogs, cats, or rabbits. Other therapy animals that are a little less common are horses, and even dolphins. Medical research has shown substantial health benefits when animals are included as part of a therapy program.
Some of the ways therapy animals have been used to help:
Adding an aquarium to the dining area of a nursing home facility for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease resulted in increased food intake and weight for 87 percent of people. The average person ate over 20 percent more of their food when eating in the room with the aquarium. Interestingly, adding a photo of an aquarium to the room didn’t result in any improvements.
Putting a therapy dog next to children being treated by a dentist significantly reduced the children’s anxiety reactions.
Patients with advanced heart disease admitted to a cardiac care unit were visited by a friendly volunteer alone, or with a therapy dog. Researchers measured stress hormones and heart function after visits. Measures of heart stress improved in both groups, with significantly better improvements after the dog visit.
Studies in both outpatients with chronic pain and hospital patients show significant reductions in pain levels after spending 10-20 minutes petting a therapy dog.
With all the benefits of therapy animals, I am very excited to see more and more hospitals adding them to their treatment plans.
Here in the valley we love our dogs and cats. But what is it about the smallest members of our families that makes them such trusted friends? Both dog and cat owners often treat their pets as both friends and family members and not as simple pets. There are many real medical benefits to having a dog as a life long friend and companion.
It may sound crazy to some, but having a dog can actually improve your overall health and quality of life. Owners of both dogs and cats have been shown to live longer, have boosted immune systems, and lower blood pressure. It has also been shown that people with pets in their lives suffer less from anxiety and depression. All of this contributes directly to you and your whole families overall quality of life.
For families with children, owning a dog can also be an educational experience. Early pet ownership helps teach your children responsibility. With the daily tasks that need preforming such as feeding, grooming, and exercising a pet, children will develop an awareness for the care and responsibilities of having a pet. One study showed just the presence of a dog in a child’s environment aided in the children’s general responsiveness and overall ability to pay attention to their surroundings.
Tomorrow is the start of national dog bite prevention week. Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say there are 4.5 million people bitten every year, and half of those are children.
Here are some tips recommended by the CDC to help keep you and your family safe.
What should a dog owner do?
Make sure your pet is socialized as a young puppy so it feels at ease around people and other animals.
Don’t put your dog in a position where it feels threatened or teased.
Train your dog. The basic commands “sit,” “stay,” “no,” and “come” help dogs understand what is expected of them and can be incorporated into fun activities that build a bond of trust between pets and people.
Walk and exercise your dog regularly to keep it healthy and provide mental stimulation.
Avoid highly excitable games like wrestling or tug-of-war.
Use a leash in public to ensure you are able to control your dog.
Keep your dog healthy. Have your dog vaccinated against rabies and preventable infectious diseases. Parasite control and other health care efforts are important because how your dog feels affects how it behaves.
Spay/Neuter your pet.
If you have a fenced yard, make sure the gates are secure.
How can you protect your family?
Be cautious around strange dogs, and treat your own pet with respect. Because children are the most common victims of dog bites, parents and caregivers should:
NEVER leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
Be alert for potentially dangerous situations.
Teach their children – including toddlers – to be careful around pets. Children must learn not to approach strange dogs or try to pet dogs through fences. Teach children to ask permission from the dog’s owner before petting the dog.