FOUR LEGS & A FURRY TAIL TO KEEP HALE & HEARTY!

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Dr Ankur Narad
Keeping pets has several benefits for your physical health as well as for your mental well-being. And if you’re among those who have always wanted to keep a pet, let us convince you to go ahead and get one home! –by Dr Ankur Narad, Dr RK Jain, Dr Supriya Shukla and Dr Nidhi Shrivastava

A recent study showed that there are more pets than children in American households. Amazed? Statistics say that there has also been an increase in the number of Indian families opting for pets.
They keep your heart safe
Having pets is great for your physical and mental health. Health experts say that pet parents have less chance of high blood pressure and their heart rate is also controlled. You become a lot more active, your mood is elevated, and stress levels are reduced. Bonding with your pet and spending time with them help lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health, and release various happy hormones. Keeping your heart safe in such a cute way – that’s indeed special.
Good mood and mindfulness
Whether you believe it or not, pets are a great way to improve your mood and temperament. Research shows that people who have pets have lesser chances of depression and similar mental illnesses.
Mental health is as important as physical well-being. Various researches have shown dogs have a positive impact on mental well-being. Humans interacting with animals have found that petting the animals promoted the release of serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin – all mood uplifting hormones that play a pivotal role in elevating mood. There is no stress-buster like playing with your pet. It helps people relax, lower their anxiety, reduces loneliness, increases mental stimulation, and provides a lot of comfort.
Run for fun: your personal trainer at no extra cost
Want someone who will accompany you for walks and jogs? Dogs can be great companions and will happily go out for walks, at times even urging you for a walk, when you’re too tired, thereby keeping you active and fit. Also they’ll keep you on your toes – feeding them, running after them playing fetch, bath time, or cleaning their mess (yes, pet parents have to do it all).
An antidote for loneliness and stress
No matter how low or lonely you feel, your furry buddy will always be there for you. Tell him your secrets, vent out that frustration and anger, or just pour your heart out while your pet rests in your lap. Pets give you unconditional love and are always faithful. Truly said, the best antidepressant has four feet! Stressed out? Pets are known to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Experts say that people can get relief from stress and depression, if they spend time with their pets. Playing with them, spending time cuddling, or just going for a walk can be so therapeutic.
Always ready to help
Want to improve your social skills? It is said that people who keep pets are said to be good in their social relations. Kids who grow up with pets at home turn out to be more respectful and empathetic. Having a pet at home is especially good because they also double up as caretakers. No burglar alarm can be better and of course cuter than your brave pet!
Encouraging responsible pet parenting
Having a pet is great fun and immensely rewarding. But, dogs have complex needs and each one of them is unique. There is no one ‘pawfect’ way to care for pets, but there are certain dos and don’ts that are always welcome.
Don’t understand them with logic, feel them with soul
Did you know that 8 out of 10 dogs suffer from separation anxiety when left alone? Research says that half the pet parents don’t realise this feeling. But looking at the world from your pet’s point of view can help you understand them better, that’s why we launched our #Nazariya campaign.
Superpower of their senses
Dogs have an incredibly well-developed sense of smell, far superior to humans. At certain frequencies, dogs can detect sounds up to four times than humans can hear. Dogs can also hear in ultrasound, which is sound with a frequency greater than the upper limit of human hearing. Dogs can see in dark and even in dim light. Their sense of sight is better than humans. In addition to companionship, some dogs help their pet parents in really special ways. Therapy dogs can help blind, deaf and disabled people, whilst some dogs can even help alert pet parents before an epileptic fit starts. They can be trained to detect drugs, explosives, termites, and even some diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
The connection matters
Communication is very important in helping dogs form and maintain social groups. To transmit scent information, dogs use urine, faces and secretions from special scent glands. Dogs produce a range of sounds, often in complex combinations, including whines, whimpers, growls, barks and howls. Many dogs can use their body, face, tail, ears and limbs to communicate with other dogs.
Talented, eager and affectionate – naturally!
The fastest recorded speed for a Greyhound is 42 miles per hour, similar to that of a mounted racehorse, which can reach speeds of around 43 miles per hour. Isn’t that amazing?? Dogs are naturally inquisitive or curious. They actively seek information about their surroundings and will spend time investigating and exploring. Feral dogs will naturally roam for great distances in search of food.
Beauty with brains – that’s what our furry buddies are
Dogs are known to be friendly, especially with humans and become quite attached. Their brilliance is unmatched and there’s no doubt in it. Dogs can learn the names of their toys. For example Rico, a Border Collie, learnt the names of 200 toys and can reliably fetch the correct toy when asked to. Dogs use special signals to show they want to play. When inviting others to play, a dog crouches on his forelimbs, remains standing on his hind limbs and may wag his tail or bark. This behaviour is called the ‘play bow’.
(Dr Ankur Narad is from RGCN Pet Clinic, Bhopal; Dr RK Jain (PhD & Professor) is from Department of Animal Nutrition; Dr Nidhi Shrivastava (PhD & Assistant Professor) are from Department of Veterinary Pathology; Dr Supriya Shukla (PhD & Professor) is Head of Department of Veterinary Pathology, College Of Veterinary Science & Animal Husbandry, Mhow, MP)

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