To celebrate National Puppy Day, we asked one of our favorite veterinarians, Dr. Aziza Glass,
to share her top 10 reasons to love and appreciate puppies.
- Puppies can be therapists, sort of.
The use of pet or animal-assisted therapy is an invaluable tool for people suffering from mental or physical health problems. People battling depression, homesickness, or even high-intensity treatments like chemotherapy benefit from interacting with puppies. Research studies have shown that these interactions improve mental and physical well-being.
- Puppies can detect cancer.
One of the canines’ superpowers is their great sense of smell. A dog’s nose is five times more sensitive than a human’s. Yet, research has discovered a correlation between dogs’ noses and their ability to naturally sniff out disease. It was recently discovered that certain diseases change the smell and taste of an individual. There have been anecdotal stories of owners who noticed their pup constantly lick certain areas of their bodies only to discover later it was the site of cancer.
- Puppies help children learn.
Having a dog in the home can manage learning anxiety and stress in children. Children who struggle with reading or math can gain confidence when reading aloud or reciting their studies to their pets. After all, they are the best listeners.
- Puppies increase exercise.
A young puppy, like a toddler, has a lot of energy. The increased exercise that naturally comes with taking care of a puppy CAN be enough to temporarily put your gym membership on hold. The length of these walks varies with the breed. For instance, a toy breed (i.e. Pomeranian) doesn’t need to walk the same amount of miles as a large breed (i.e. Labrador Retriever). At the same time, some breeds are designed to be runners (ie. Rhodesian Ridgeback) versus breeds that are meant to just walk around a couple of blocks (ie. Basset Hound).
- Puppies reduce doctor visits.
Multiple research studies have shown a surprising correlation between the health of individuals who own pets versus those who don’t. A British study concluded that senior citizens who owned pets had 50 percent fewer minor medical problems such as painful joints, colds and flu, general tiredness, and headaches compared to senior citizens who had no pet.
- Puppies improve heart health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) have both conducted numerous studies focusing on pets and heart health. Pet owners tend to have lower blood pressures, even when stressed, compared to individuals who don’t own pets. They also tend to have lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which decrease the chances of having a future heart attack.
- Puppies reduce adolescent allergies.
There has been a recent revision of how pets are connected to children and their development of allergies. The previous dogma believed that family pets made children more likely to develop pet-related allergies. However, newer studies are actually suggesting the opposite. It is more likely that children who develop around “furry animals” have a lower probability of developing allergies and asthma.
- Puppies teach life lessons.
A study by child psychologist Robert Bierer of Albuquerque concluded that children who cared for dogs tended to have higher levels of empathy and self-esteem than children who didn’t.
- Puppies improve social skills.
Like chocolate, people love puppies. Feeling a little awkward around people? Well, your puppy is the perfect icebreaker. Even when two people have very few things in common, a puppy can encourage the start of a civil conversation.
- Puppies are adorable best friends.
Happy National Puppy Day! For more from Dr. Glass – check out her website.