by Dr. Andrew Ordon,
I recently had a ride in the “Loving All Animals” limousine. This white stretch limo had been donated to assist in and promote the rescue and adoption of abandoned, abused or neglected animals. There were decals of dogs on the windows so, from the inside and outside it appeared that a dozen dogs were peering in and out of the car. I took my dog, Lulu, and she seemed to know intuitively that this was no normal car ride.
My dog instantly relaxes me when I walk in the door after a long day. I venture to say that my blood pressure and stress level drops dramatically when I see my dog, pet her and talk to her. She is always happy to see me and acts like she missed while I was at work. I am not alone in this feeling and belief. There is medical literature backing up this phenomenon, some of it going back over 20 years.
The medical journal Lancet published a case study in which a woman’s dog constantly sniffed a mole on her leg. It even tried to bite the lesion off. Finally, as a result of the dog’s suspicious behavior, she went to the doctor and had the spot biopsied. You know what? It was a malignant melanoma. That is a life-threatening skin cancer, the very worst kind. Her dog may have saved her life.
That case may be easy to dismiss, because the spot was visible. So consider a specially-trained 8-year-old black Labrador named Panda. This canine correctly detected colorectal cancer in 33 out of 37 samples of people’s breath and stool that scientists had collected. Moreover, according to the article in the gastroenterology and hepatology journal Gut, Panda appeared to be highly accurate at detecting early-stage colorectal cancer.
If that’s where it ended, it would still be pretty spectacular. But there’s more. Your dog will get you out of the house and make you more active. A 2008 study by the National Cancer Institute, dog owners walked more per week by comparison. Your pet helps not just you, but your kids as well. In this day and age children would rather play on the computer than play outside and participate in healthy games that require exertion.
According to a 2010 study in the American Journal of Public Health, children with dogs spent more time doing moderate to vigorous physical activity than children without dogs. That translates to better developmental health and less childhood obesity.
And if your excuse for not getting a dog is that you are afraid of allergies or skin diseases such as eczema, a 2011 Journal of Pediatrics article followed 636 children and found the rate of eczema was lower among kids who lived with a family dog. In fact, even for kids sensitive to dog allergens, having a dog did not increase their risk of developing eczema.
So do what I did. Rescue a dog, and get out there and walk. You will have less stress, better health and both of you will walk more and live longer. It will be a life worth living for both of you.
Dr. Andrew Ordon is a Rancho Mirage-based plastic surgeon and a star of “The Doctors.” Contact him at email@example.com.
(Source: www.mydesert.com )