It is interesting to see that there is a lot of scientific research coming down the pipes around the topic of pets and their contribution to our mental and physical health.
For pet owners who adore their pets, I am sure this is no surprise, but it is nice to see it scientifically backed also.
Researchers from the U.K. conducted a survey of 6,000 participants during the country’s lockdown period, lasting from late March to early June of this year. Roughly 90 percent of respondents reported having at least one pet. Source http://sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/09/200926145210.htm
And it did not matter what type of pet it was, whether it was a dog, cat, guinea pig, or fish, that animal companion ended up providing a significant buffer against psychological stress.
More than 90 percent of the survey’s respondents said that their pet helped them cope with the emotional fallout of lockdown. It is also important to note, that nearly all of them said that their pet also was helpful in keeping them active and fit, which is a huge contributor to better health overall.
It sounds to me, that having a pet to love and play with is a win-win situation all around.
One of the fears of pet owners during the pandemic, however, is having access to quality and accessible vetertary services. As a Nutritionist I cannot stress enough the importance of supplementing to plug any nutritional leaks that YOU or your pet might have 🙂
The more we can support our own immune systems, as well as our furry family members, the better!
I know a lot of people think that supplementation is about the Now and sometimes when they feel great or there are no troubles, they think it is not necessary, but the real truth is, supplementing is for the future!
By supplementing with high quality nutrients you may be able to prevent future complications and actually save money by for example, reduced doctors or vetertarain visits.
Show some love to you furry family members by cuddling them as much as possible. And we all know that they LOVE it, but it is super good for OUR health too!
A study in the journal Science found that dog owners, for example, experienced a 300% increase in the calming hormone oxytocin after spending just 30 minutes cuddling, petting or playing with their pooch!!!
Domestic animals have a way of calming us and lowering our stress response.
And it doesn’t matter our age, young or old, this works!
Instead of just walking the dog today, why not make pet time and play a priority and a part of your daily self-care? It seems to me like everybody wins. 🙂
Let’s face it our pets are members of our family and we are living in a world where toxicity levels, stress and industrial pollution are at an all-time high. There has never been a more important time for us and our pets to be taking antioxidents
A free radical is an atomic structure with an unpaired electron in its outermost shell. These unpaired electrons tend to be highly reactive, resulting in chemical reactions such as oxidation. Because they have one or more unpaired electrons, free radicals are highly unstable. They scavenge the body to grab or donate electrons, causing damage to cells, proteins and DNA. Free radicals are naturally occurring; however, air pollution, stress, cigarette smoke and heavy exercising all contribute to the creation of harmful free radicals. Free radicals can cause oxidative damage. Normally the animal’s body is able to protect itself from the damaging effects of free radicals, but if antioxidants are unavailable, or if free radical production becomes excessive, damage can occur. Antioxidants are natural cell protectors, neutralizing free radicals by pairing an electron to the outermost shell of radical oxygen molecules, rendering them harmless. Antioxidants are nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and enzymes that are capable of counteracting the damaging, but normal, effects of the physiological process of oxidation in bodily tissues. Antioxidants work in two ways: chain breaking and prevention. A chain-breaking antioxidant such as vitamins A, C and E, stabilize free radicals or cause them to decay into harmless atomic structures. A preventative antioxidant prevents the oxidation process by scavenging free radicals.
PetHealth OPC is a food supplement made from a combination of bilberry, grape seed, red wine, pine bark extracts, citrus extract bioflavonoids, and glucosamine, designed to promote health joins and provide a strong antioxidant defense. Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) are bioflavonoids (complex organic plant compounds) found in fruits, vegetables and certain tree barks that provide exceptional nutritional benefits to your pet’s body. Studies have shown OPCs to be up to 20 times more powerful than vitamin C and 50 times more powerful than vitamin E in neutralizing free radicals. PetHealth OPC Formula with Glucosamine offers a unique, great-tasting powder that is sprinkled over your pet’s regular food. It represents the latest technology available today in naturally based pet food supplements. PetHealth OPC Formula is available in a tasty beef flavor that your pets will love – and you’ll love knowing that you’re doing all you can to help your pets stay healthy and live long, healthy lives. Pets face many of the same issues as humans. Many pet foods are over processed and have little nutritive value. Dogs and cats breathe in the same pollution as we do, inhaling harmful free radicals. Potent antioxidants like OPCs help to strengthen your pet’s free radical defenses. Antioxidants promote cardiovascular health, support healthy visual acuity, promote healthy blood vessel dilation and promote healthy platelet activity.
Your Pets and Joint Health As pets become older, antioxidants become even more important in the fight against free radicals and their associated effects on cells in joints and other tissues. All animals are at risk for declining joint health. Many factors can affect joint health and the integrity of cartilage, including diet, genetic make-up and activity levels. The cold wintery months can also contribute to a decline in joint comfort. Each animal’s genetic code, for example, can influence the thickness and durability of its cartilage and its overall joint health. Proper nutrition, especially antioxidant supplementation, is critical in maintaining healthy joints. Glucosamine has been shown to promote the retention and normal regeneration of cartilage, support normal movement and flexibility of joints and promote joint comfort.
Grape Seed Extract Grape seed extract helps protect cells from free radical damage. Rich in polyphenols, beneficial compounds that have been shown to support normal circulation, grape seed extract can help maintain a healthy circulatory system.
Red Wine Extract Red wine extract is a potent antioxidant that contains beneficial amounts of resveratrol. Resveratrol can promote normal blood platelet activity and it is believed that it is partially responsible for the cardiovascular health benefits associated with red wine.
Pine Bark Extract Another strong antioxidant, pine bark extract has been shown to support normal circulation, the immune system and the strength of blood vessel walls.
Bilberry Extract Bilberry extract is beneficial in promoting strong red blood cells and capillaries, specifically around the eyes and in the retina. Bilberry extract supports the capillaries in the body to help maintain optimal peripheral circulation.
Citrus Bioflavonoids Citrus bioflavonoids are natural substances found in fruits and vegetables, nuts, and some tree barks. They counter the effects of free radical damage and also promote respiratory health.
Glucosamine There are numerous European studies showing a clear benefit of glucosamine supplements for promoting joint health. Glucosamine may also support chondrocytes (cartilage cells) in the normal production of healthy new cartilage.
Optimization by Blending It has been suggested that several antioxidants blended together in moderate amounts may be more effective than high levels of one antioxidant. The blend of antioxidants in PetHealth OPC Formula Powder includes grape seed extract, red wine extract, pine bark extract, bilberry extract and citrus bioflavonoids. These antioxidants contain oligomeric proanthocyanidins, or OPCs. Much the same way antioxidants can help optimize a person’s health, they can also be beneficial to our dogs and cats. Antioxidants help fight the damage caused by free radicals. They can also help support immune responses and support normal vaccine recognition in dogs and cats. Young animals can benefit tremendously from antioxidants. Antioxidants can help maintain optimum health in your animal’s gastrointestinal and cardiovascular systems, liver, kidneys, eyes and immune system. Another important role of pet antioxidants is their ability to support immune-cell function for dogs and cats in their senior years.
What are OPCs? OPCs, or oligomeric proanthocyanidins, can help reduce free radical damage, support the strength and normal repair of connective tissue, and can support proper enzyme activity. OPCs can also help maintain normal histamine levels. Not limited to being just strong antioxidants, OPCs are also crucial in their role in supporting the circulatory system.
What are antioxidants, and why should I give them to my pets? Antioxidants are naturally occurring nutrients that help maintain optimum health by protecting against free radicals. Antioxidants are found in the body naturally as well as in many plants. Even cells that function normally generate large amounts of oxygen free radicals. Free radicals have an unpaired electron, making many of them reactive and destructive. When free radicals roam freely throughout the body unregulated by antioxidants, they can attack various healthy cell structures, including cell membranes, proteins, RNA and DNA. Certain factors in everyday life encourage an increase in the formation of free radicals for humans and pets alike. These factors include the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. Each one of these necessities can contain harmful reactants. We need a “neutralizer” in our body to rid our system of these harmful reactants and a strong and effective antioxidant is the best way to fight free radical damage. It is becoming increasingly apparent to veterinarians that antioxidant supplementation could very well provide optimal health support for dogs and cats in a manner similar to that experienced by humans. Both pets and their owners could benefit from a “neutralizer” operating in their systems that fight free radicals. A strong antioxidant is the best way to fight free radicals.
What is a bioflavonoid? Bioflavonoids are complex organic plant compounds. Plants and fruits differ in colors based on the specific bioflavonoids they contain. An increasing number of clinical studies have shown how bioflavonoids support health. Bioflavonoids and OPCs play a key role in supporting cardiovascular health and maintaining vascular integrity. Bioflavonoids have been shown to support healthy circulation and cell vitality. Normal collagen renewal is promoted, which supports firmness of the skin, joint cartilage and connective tissue.
What is the history of OPCs? In 1534, French explorer Jacques Cartier was leading an expedition up the St. Lawrence River. Trapped by bad weather, Cartier and his crew were forced to survive on a ration of salted meat and biscuits. Cartier’s crew began to suffer from severe deficiency of vitamin C and showed symptoms of scurvy. Many crew members died before the surviving members encountered a friendly Native American who saved most of their lives. He told them to make a tea from the bark and needles of the pine tree to cure their malady. They complied and, as a result, Cartier and many crew members survived. Some 400 years later, Professor Jacques Masquelier of the University of Bordeaux, France, read a book by Cartier detailing their expedition. He concluded that pine bark not only contained some vitamin C, but obviously was a good source of bioflavonoids, whose effects are similar to those of vitamin C. Further studies and research revealed that the pine bark contained an array of proanthocyanidins complexes. These compounds were also found in a variety of plants, including grape seeds, cranberries, peanut skin, lemon tree bark and citrus rinds. Masquelier termed the active ingredients of the pine bark “pycnogenols”, which today are referred to in the scientific community as oligomeric proanthocyanidins, or OPCs.
It’s no surprise that pets help to boost happiness. Not only can they be cute, cuddly, and affectionate, but they love us unconditionally!
As of late, I am delighted to hear from friends and colleagues who have recently opened their mind up to the gift of having a pet. It’s a gift for both the animal and the pet owner. Truly a win-win for all when a pet is welcomed into a loving, caring, and healthy home.
A new trend is emerging where pets are even allowed in some workplaces. I work mostly from home and just this morning, while writing, I was so grateful to have my cat Bella cuddled up in my lap while I tapped away at the keyboard. In between petting her of course. 🙂 So I think the workplace idea, when it is able to be both conducive to the work environment and adaptable, is a great idea!
Animals can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and increase social interaction and physical activity. They are also really good companions for the elderly. They provide a loving and interactive presence for those who can no longer get out and interact with others due to age and mobility. They also don’t worry about tomorrow, which can be a very scary concept for an older person.
Pets can also have an astounding effect on symptoms of depression and feelings of loneliness. When one has someone else to care for and to love, a person’s entire world and viewpoint can shift from that of lack and loneliness to one of compassion and purpose.
Finding ways to have more compassion for people and animals is a huge catalyst to having more peace and love in life. I have recently written a blog post on Compassion over at my main blog. Here is the link if you would like to read it:
For those that already have a pet or pets, it’s no surprise that 98% of pet owners consider their pet to be a member of the family. Both pets and therapy animals can help alleviate stress, anxiety, depression, lack of purpose, and feelings of loneliness and social isolation. Interactions with animals can help people manage long-term mental health conditions, as well as boost happiness and JOY through day to day interactions with these adorable creatures.
What about you? Have you always wanted a pet? Or are you en-JOYing the ones you have? Please drop a comment in the comment area and let’s share our JOY of pets and support the idea of providing loving homes to these gifts of pure unconditional and unbridled love! If you have ever come home to a dog so happy to see you, you will know what the term ‘unbridled love’ really means. 🙂
Unbridled: uncontrolled; unconstrained.”a moment of unbridled ambition”
Maggie Holbik.com is a Certified Life Coach, Board Certified Nutritionist and lover of life and anything living like plants and animals. She believes in love and love between all creatures and living things.