Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dog Kisses to the Rescue

I have been an advocate of the “a little dirt is good for you” theory since my kids were born.  I grew up on a farm where play, animals and dirt were a regular and wondrous part of my childhood.  You went outside, you got dirty.  It was a given.  I have always been pretty healthy and so are my kids, so it made sense that a little challenge to the immune system periodically kept it in shape to ward off the nasty stuff.

Now a study recently published in the journal of Pediatrics* has shown that pets are an effective vehicle for bringing dirt, or more correctly microbiotic agents, to us, especially as children.  For example, kids in homes with dogs had lower incidents of some respiratory ailments and ear infections.  Check out a video about the benefits of your pet at: http://www.newsy.com/videos/cats-dogs-may-boost-babies-immune-systems/

The use of antibiotics was less in these pet-loving homes as well, which is great because, as I’ve stated in my blogs before, antibiotics are terribly over-used and becoming more ineffective because of it.  

Some people are allergic to cats and dogs, but those without allergies could really benefit from having a four-legged creature at home.  It is common knowledge now that having a pet around reduces a person’s anxiety and, for some, especially the elderly, provide companionship and a reason to take of themselves. 

But, let’s be clear – I really do NOT advocate letting a dog kiss you on the mouth, even though we have all seen individuals do it who have apparently forgotten what that same tongue just licked.  Actually, while I don’t like dogs licking me at all, but I love to have my dogs greet me at the door or snuggle next to me on the couch.

So, I think I will add “get a dog (or cat)” to your Emergency Preparedness Kit.  They could help boost your immune system and give yourself someone to hug when a disaster strikes.  Your pet may not be a Lassie or Rin Tin Tin, but he or she can give you something you just can’t buy in stores...someone who will be by your side through thick and thin.

Just don’t forget to make a Preparedness Kit for your pet.  For ideas go to:  http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/disaster-preparedness/

*Read the article, “Dirty Dog, Happy Baby” by Amina Khan in the July 9, 2012, Los Angeles Times.

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