Bring out the bells, balls, and balloons because it’s National Dog Month! That’s right, the month of August has been designated as the time to honor and celebrate our beloved canine companions! And what better time than during the dog days of summer?
It’s no surprise that dogs are the number 1 pet in the United States. According to the National Veterinary Medical Association, in 2021, there were over 76 million canines in American homes with 38% of homes having at least one dog. All indications are that dogs will continue to top the most popular pet list in 2022.
So, what is it about our faithful companions that makes them so endearing? They love and take care of their humans and here are the reasons how.
Who needs anything else to reduce stress when you have a dog at your feet or by your side? Based on the results of studies by University of Pennsylvania professor Aaron Katcher, handling your dog in play or even petting him has shown to have significant physiological effects on humans, including lowering blood pressure and heart rate, regulating breathing, and serving as an instant muscle relaxant. And more recent studies indicate that the stress hormones in dog owners’ blood are greatly reduced due to interactions with their pet.
Improved Heart Health
Another study shows that pet owners who were hospitalized for heart attacks and returned home had a higher survival rate than non-pet owners. Reason? The special relationship between pets and humans results in much less overall stress, which is a major cause of cardiovascular problems.
Simply put: dogs make us happy. They are fun, loving, and cuddly. What better combination to make you happy? Seriously, on the scientific front, a 2009 Japanese study indicated that looking into a dog’s eyes raises the level of oxytocin, known as the Love Hormone, which triggers feelings of love and protection. Studies also show that dog owners are less likely to experience depression, which is especially true for seniors who might otherwise experience loneliness.
Maybe you have experienced it yourself – you are out for a walk with your dog and come across someone else who is doing the same. Chances are you, at the least, smile at one another, and even more, start a conversation, which you may not have otherwise done. In fact, studies show that people who are passionate about their pet have a stronger tie to other people as well as to their communities.
Whether it’s a simple game of Frisbee in the backyard, or a long hike in the woods, dogs keep us humans on our active toes. The bottom line is that dog owners get more, and better exercise, than their non-dog owner counterparts.
Sense of Smell
We all know that dogs have an amazingly acute sense of smell, and that can actually be a lifesaver for humans. Trained scent detection service dogs can be trained to sniff out a multiple of dangerous and deadly things such as some cancers, oncoming seizures, low blood sugar levels, and certain food allergies. Dogs trained in scent detection geared toward peanuts can save many from allergic reactions.
We all like to feel needed and taking care of a dog is indeed one way of feeling very needed. Dogs not only require the basics of food, water, and exercise, but they need us to love and nurture them, all things that enhance our worth as a human being.
It’s the guy in the park with his German Shepherd, or the girl walking down the street with her Pomeranian. Score 1: you both love dogs. Score 2: you’re on the same schedule. Score 3: your daily smiles segue into small chats into longer chats, into lattes at the coffee shop that encourages dogs. Finally – at the least, you’ve found a friend.
About National Dog Month
The Milk-Bone brand introduced National Dog Month in 2020 to celebrate humans’ most faithful and loving companions. There are so many ways to celebrate this month with your pet, including:
- Go for long walks in new and interesting places
- Make up a batch of extra-special treats
- Buy that special toy he’s been drooling for
- Visit your vet if you haven’t been there for awhile
- Sign up for a training class or take your dog to daycare
Celebrate with Performance K9 Training
Every day is a special dog day at Performance K9 Training, which is no surprise since we are consistently rated as the best training and boarding facility in San Diego North County. We offer pets the very best kennel care in a beautiful country setting.
But in addition, Performance K9 is committed to doing its part for the greater good. In 2019, Performance K9 Training partnered with Thor’s Hope Foundation to train and give a two-year-old Labrador Retriever, Clifford, to Fire Chief Ned Vander Pol of Vista Fire Department. Clifford was especially trained to help relieve the tremendous occupational stresses faced by firefighters every day.
It took more than 2,000 training hours performed by David Greene, the founder of Performance K9 Training and the Training Director for Thor’s Hope Foundation. Clifford’s leash is now in the hands of Fire Chief Ned, whose job it is to decrease the firefighters’ stress and help them relax whenever possible.
Firehouse dogs must go through intense and specialized training to support firefighters in a variety of situations. These specially bred dogs are valued at $10,000, and once trained, they are donated to a firehouse.
In addition to Vista, other fire departments have in included Milo in Los Angeles, Hudson in Modesto, Sadie and Marley in San Francisco, Ranger in Palm Springs and Winston at the US Coast Guard.
Working together, Performance K9 Training and Thor’s Hope Foundation are excited about continuing to place these specially trained dogs, Our Heroes, where they are needed to lend a helping paw.