2018 is all about our furry friends as they take over the Chinese calendar as the Year of the Dog. Our lovely and loving mutts have the power to transform and enrich our lives, making them our everyday superheroes. Whether you’re taking a stroll through the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens or going for a jog at James & Ethel Gray Park, it’s evident that Joburgers love their doggos.
We chatted to Dr Guy Fyvie, nutritional advisor for Hill’s Pet Nutrition, and asked him to highlight the top five benefits of owning and loving a dog… or three.
1. They increase our life expectancy – research has shown that for people living alone the risk of death is decreased by 33% if they own a dog to keep them company. This is because of the way dogs make us feel; happy, loved, content.
2. They ensure our social well-being and happiness – Interacting with your dog is great for happiness but, having a dog can also increase interaction with people. People with dogs are happier, interact more with others and are less likely to visit the doctor.
3. They promote heart health – recently there has been a lot more evidence provinghaving a dog may help to improve heart health. Studies show dog owners have lower blood pressure than non-dog owners. It’s thought that having a dog reduces stress and has a calming effect, in fact the chances of having a heart attack is lowered by 11%.
4. They boost our immune development and can reduce risk of allergies – not only can dogs boost the immune system of adults but, of children too, especially if they’ve been exposed to dogs since infancy. Contrary to popular belief having a dog does not increase the chances of allergic reactions. In fact, studies show that having a dog in the home when you have young children will help to prevent pet allergies later on in their lives.
5. They can help with depression – depression is no longer the taboo subject it once was. There’s evidence that dogs can reduce stress, anxiety and depression and in some cases even cure it.
Joburg pet parents can honour their dogs by sharing their superhero stories. “Dogs are the real superheroes and we are calling for all pet parents to join us in our goal of creating a better world by sharing the love of dogs and how they enrich our daily lives,” says Dr Fyvie. Post your stories on the Hill’s Pet Nutrition SA Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. Use #YearoftheDog for all three social media platforms and for Instagram you can add the hashtags #Instagood, #Manifesto #Dogsofinstagram #2018 and #Hero. Plus, just by using these hashtags you can stand in line to win some great spot prizes.