An animal companion may not just warm your heart, but also help you maintain a healthy heart. In a new press release from the American Heart Association, pets—particularly dogs—are associated with lowering blood pressure, stress, cholesterol levels, and incidence of obesity. So, the next time your buddy is nudging you for a walk around the block, just remember that you’re not only taking proper steps to keep your dog healthy, but you’re also doing your heart some good!
The American Heart Association (AHA) has declared that pets, especially dogs, are good for a person’s heart. Further proof that dogs are among the best friends a person could have.
Dr. Glenn N. Levine, director of Baylor University’s cardiac care unit, was quoted in a press release from the AHA saying, “Pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, is probably associated with a decreased risk of heart disease.”
The AHA writes that owning a dog “may help reduce cardiovascular risk,” perhaps due to dogs bugging their owners into taking them for walks on a regular basis. Dog owners were, according to the AHA’s studies, 54 percent more likely than non-dog owners to get the suggested amount of exercise.
And the benefits don’t stop there. The AHA writes that owning a pet in general “may be associated with lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels” as well as a lower rate of obesity. Pets can also help a person cope with stressful situations. Last month, a team of therapy dogs traveled to Boston to help the victims of the bombings.
“In essence, data suggest that there probably is an association between pet ownership and decreased cardiovascular risk,” Levine said. “What’s less clear is whether the act of adopting or acquiring a pet could lead to a reduction in cardiovascular risk in those with pre-existing disease. Further research, including better quality studies, is needed to more definitively answer this question.”
In an interview with The New York Times, Levine said, “We didn’t want to make this too strong of a statement. But there are plausible psychological, sociological and physiological reasons to believe that pet ownership might actually have a causal role in decreasing cardiovascular risk.”
Good news, no doubt. But one shouldn’t expect a dog to offset unhealthy lifestyle choices. “If someone adopts a pet, but still sits on the couch and smokes and eats whatever they want and doesn’t control their blood pressure, that’s not a prudent strategy to decrease their cardiovascular risk,” Levine told the Times.
The Times reports that 70 million dogs and 74 million cats are kept as pets in the U.S.
(Via: Mike Krumboltz, Yahoo! News: American Heart Association: Dogs are good for the heart)
Stephen Vuillemin is an illustrator based in London whose colourful comics and beautiful editorial illustrations are brought to life via GIF to become something pretty breathtaking indeed. Stephen has created many astounding pieces since graduating from the Parisian visual communication school Gobelins in 2008. We love the following illustrations he has created, for more of his work check out his website, blog and Twitter.
According to a new study, exposure to lawn and garden chemicals has been linked to bladder cancer in dogs. Common herbicides are the culprits, and pet guardians need to consider when and how they treat their lawns. Certain breeds, including beagles and Scottish terriers, are at particular risk because of their high genetic propensity for bladder cancer, yet all dogs are still susceptible. Researchers also discovered that canines contaminated by the chemicals can potentially transfer them to their guardians. Continue reading for more on the new study and for tips on pet-friendly lawn care.
Discovery News, Jennifer Viegas
Dogs are ingesting, inhaling and otherwise being exposed to garden and lawn chemicals that have been associated with bladder cancer, according to a new study.
The paper, which will appear in the July issue of Science of the Total Environment, also found that wind could carry the chemicals to untreated properties. The researchers also found that dogs, once contaminated by the chemicals, can transfer them to their owners.
The chemicals are common herbicides containing the following: 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), 4-chloro-2- methylphenoxypropionic acid (MCPP) and/or dicamba.
“The routes of exposure that have been documented in experimental settings include ingestion, inhalation and transdermal exposures,” lead author Deborah Knapp of Purdue University’s Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, told Discovery News.
“In the case of dogs,” she added, “they could directly ingest the chemicals from the plant, or they could lick their paws or fur and ingest chemicals that have been picked up on their feet, legs or body.”
Scottish terriers, West Highland white terriers, Shetland sheepdogs, beagles and wire hair fox terriers are all at particular risk, the researchers suggest, because these breeds have a high genetic propensity for bladder cancer.
Knapp and her colleagues first conducted an experimental grass plot study that involved spraying various defined patches with the chemicals under different conditions. These included spraying the herbicides on plots that were green, dry brown, wet or recently mowed. The researchers next measured how much of the chemicals remained on the grass up to 72 hours post treatment.
Co-author Angus Murphy, also from Purdue, explained that dead or dying plant material does not readily absorb the chemicals, “so the herbicide can remain longer on the surface of the plant.”
He continued, “If an excessive amount of herbicide is applied, then the capacity of the target plant to take up the compound may be overwhelmed.”
In a second experiment, the researchers analyzed urine samples of dogs from households that either used herbicides or didn’t. The majority of dogs from homes that used the chemicals were found to have these same herbicides in their urine. Some dogs from untreated homes also had the chemicals in their urine.
Knapp explained that wind could cause the herbicides to travel up to 50 feet away from the application site. Neighbors who use the chemicals might therefore impact other individuals in the area.
“There are industry guidelines for restricting lawn chemical application based on wind speed, although homeowners may not be aware of these,” Knapp said.
Once contaminated, dogs can pass the chemicals on to their owners and to others. The study only looked at dogs, but the researchers suspect that cats and other pets could also be affected.
“Dogs can pick up the chemicals on their paws and their fur,” Knapp said. “They can then track the chemicals inside the house, leaving chemicals on the floor or furniture. In addition, if the dog has chemicals on its fur, the pet owner could come in contact with the chemicals when they pet or hold the dog.”
John Reif, a professor emeritus of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health, told Discovery News, “The paper presents important information since exposure to 2,-4-D, a widely used broad leaf herbicide, has been associated with increased risk of cancer in pet dogs and humans.”
Reif added, “This study has potentially important implications for human health since it demonstrates widespread exposure to pet dogs. The likelihood that children, who share the local environment with their pets, are similarly exposed to these chemicals is high and thus additional studies should be conducted to evaluate this possibility.”
The researchers suggest that if owners still must use herbicides, they should follow manufacturer guidelines, allow gardens and lawns to dry before allowing pets out, wash their dog’s feet each time the dog comes inside, and consider treating the back yard one week before the front (or vice versa) so that pets will have an area of less potential chemical exposure available to them.
More Discovery News: http://news.discovery.com/animals/pets/dogs-absorb-lawn-chemicals-130508.htm
Hoppa, a four-year-old mixed breed dog born without front legs, uses a prosthetic device to walk outside in the central Israeli city of Tel Aviv February 28, 2010. The device was invented especially for Hoppa by a animal-loving art student, who hopes his wheeling device will improve the lives of pets born with abnormalities or with amputated limbs. (Amir Cohen/Reuters)
Naki’o, a mixed-breed dog with four prosthetic devices, goes for a run in Colorado Springs April 12, 2013. Naki’o lost all four feet to frostbite when he was abandoned as a puppy in a foreclosed home. (Rick Wilking/Reuters)
A Yorkshire Terrier named Hope shows off her uni-wheel attached to a doggie vest in Longmont, Colorado April 21, 2013. Hope is missing one limb and is able to walk with the wheel attachment. (Rick Wilking/Reuters)
A 25-year-old female loggerhead turtle named Yu swims after receiving her 27th pair of prosthetic flippers at the Suma Aqualife Park in Kobe, western Japan February 11, 2013. Life looked grim for Yu, a loggerhead turtle, when she washed up in a Japanese fishing net five years ago, her front flippers shredded after a brutal encounter with a shark. Now keepers at an aquarium in the western Japanese city of Kobe are fighting to find a high-tech solution that will allow the 25-year-old turtle to swim again, with years of labor and 27 models of prosthetic fins behind them without success. (Reuters/Suma Aqualife Park)
A keeper holds an artificial tail fluke attached to female bottlenose dolphin “Fuji”, estimated to be 37-years-old, at Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Motobu town on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa February 14, 2007. Fuji lost 75 percent of her tail fluke due to an unknown disease in 2002. The dolphin can swim and jump using the artificial tail fluke, which is believed to be the world’s first artificial fin for a dolphin, and was developed by veterinarians and Japan’s largest tire maker Bridgestone Co., an aquarium official said. (Issei Kato/Reuters)
A dog named Pay de Limon (Lemon Pay) runs fitted with two front prosthetic legs at Milagros Caninos rescue shelter in Mexico City August 29, 2012. Members of a drug gang in the Mexican state of Zacatecas chopped off Limon’s paws to practice cutting fingers off kidnapped people, according to Milagros Caninos founder Patricia Ruiz. Fresnillo residents found Limon in a dumpster bleeding and legless. After administering first aid procedures, they managed to take him to Milagros Caninos, an association that rehabilitates dogs that have suffered extreme abuse. The prosthetic limbs were made at OrthoPets in Denver, U.S., after the shelter was able to raise over $6,000. (Tomas Bravo/Reuters)
Scar the cat, which had its hind legs severed by a combine harvester, stands in this undated handout. Two-year-old Oscar can walk again after being fitted with prosthetic limbs in a world-first operation. Oscar was given a pair of artificial limbs by veterinary surgeon Noel Fitzpatrick, using a technique developed by a University College London team. (Reuters)
A 48-year-old female elephant named Motala walks on her newly attached prosthetic leg at the Elephant Hospital in Lampang province, north of Bangkok August 16, 2009. Motala’s front left leg was maimed after she stepped on a landmine at the Myanmar-Thai border 10 years ago. (Phichaiyong Mayerku/Reuters)
A seven-year-old disabled cat named Cici is helped to walk by a device as she participates in “Cat Show 2002” in the western Turkish city of Izmir, December 29, 2002. Cici was disabled in a traffic accident two months prior. (Reuters)
Tzvika, an injured female turtle, walks with the aid of her newly attached wheels at the Wildlife Hospital in the Ramat Gan Safari near Tel Aviv January 5, 2011. About two months ago, Tzvika was run over by a lawn mower and suffered severe damage to her shell, and a spinal injury that affected her ability to use her rear limbs. The wheels, attached by veterinarians at the safari, elevate the turtle to keep the shell from being worn down and enable her to walk. (Nir Elias/Reuters)
Marco van den Boom installs a wheel of a medical roll car for French bulldog Billy at the headquarters of ‘Rehatechnik fuer Tiere’ (medical engineering for animals) in the western town of Witten November 9, 2012. Four-year old Billy, whose hind legs are paralyzed since birth, ran for the first time on Friday with the aid of the roll car. “Rehatechnik fuer Tiere” owner Marco van den Boom, custom builds a range of roll cars for disabled or infirm dogs and animals, to help aid their mobility or paralysis needs. (Ina Fassbender/Reuters)
Chris P. Bacon, pictured February 12, 2013, at Eastside Veterinary Hospital in Clermont, Florida, was born without the use of his hind legs. Last month, the pig’s owner turned the piglet over to a Clermont vet who decided to help the little guy. Dr. Len Lucero took the pig home and made a wheelchair for him using toy parts. (Tom Benitez/Orlando Sentinel/MCT
We are back with our fifth edition of the Top 10 pieces of street art featuring dogs…..
In case you missed them, here are links to our previous posts on Street Art Featuring Dogs:
20-year-old Candice Sedighan was recently flown out by Yahoo! (the parent of Flickr) to New York City to do a short interview about her incredibly sweet photography. A few days ago, Flickr posted that interview on their blog, sharing the behind-the-scenes story about the golden-haired subject that’s in most of her shots. Like Jessica Trinh’s photos, Sedighan’s feature a very happy and photogenic golden retriever. Surrounded by bubbles, autumn leaves and butterflies, 10-year-old Champ seems to be truly living the good life.
“I really like to capture the true essence with dogs, which is that they’re always so happy,” the college student told Flickr. “The time Champ and I spend together, he’s just always beaming with happiness and you can really see that through my photos.”
Sedighan claims that the near unbelievable photo of Champ with a butterfly on his nose is not the result of Photoshop but instead of “an extraordinary trained model,” her very own Champ. Though we can’t get enough of those perfectly timed shots, the ones that we love the most are the ones where Champ looks like he’s smiling. Is it just us or is his happiness, and overall love of life, infectious?
(VIA: My Modern Met)