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Friday, 8 February 2019

Ways That Having a Pet Can Help Your Diabetes

Maria Muccioli Ph.D. writes:
"It is well-established that having a companion animal can do wonders for our health, both physically and emotionally. How can having a pet help with diabetes management? Here are five ways that you can benefit from making a furry friend (or several) a permanent part of your life:

1. Stress Relief 
Life with diabetes can be stressful at times. Stress is known to raise blood glucose levels. It is well-known that petting an animal can reduce the levels of cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Translation: spending time with your pet may make you calmer. Thus, having a pet can have a direct, positive impact on diabetes management. 

2. More Exercise 
Everyone knows that dogs need exercise. After becoming a dog owner almost six years ago, my activity levels increased significantly. Long hikes in the woods are not uncommon. I always notice a positive effect on my blood glucose levels when I incorporate a regular exercise routine on a daily basis.


Of course, the exercise benefit of pet ownership may be less pronounced if you have an animal that doesn’t require regular walks. Even so, the calories spent on other maintenance activities can add up! Whether you are getting off the couch to play with them or feed them, or even cleaning up their mess, you are likely less sedentary than you would be if you didn’t have them to take care of.

Image credit: Brian Muccioli

3. They Have a Sixth Sense 
Okay, perhaps it is just an enhanced fifth sense. It is well-established that dogs have a heightened sense of smell, and can even be trained to alert people with diabetes to out-of-range or rapidly-changing blood glucose levels.

Some people purchase a Diabetes Alert Dog (DAD) or even train their own. Incredibly, I’ve found that my dogs (who did not train for this) appear to sense low or rapidly-dropping blood glucose levels and start to lick my face with caring concern when this occurs. In fact, there have been several occasions when I was too busy to notice the early symptoms of hypoglycaemia and my dogs promptly got my attention.

I am not sure if cats can sense blood glucose levels. Let us know in the comments below if you happen to have a diabetes alert cat!

4. They Make Us Laugh 
Pets can be goofy – I know mine are! From her puppy days of tail chasing to the silly faces and noises she makes to her endearing interactions with my one-year-old, my oldest dog certainty makes us smile and laugh on a regular basis.

At least one study has shown that laughter may be effective in reducing postprandial blood glucose levels. The scientists are not sure whether the physical action of laughing increased glucose utilization by the muscle or if the effects are endocrine-mediated. It appears though, that laughter is good medicine! 

5. We Can Learn from Them 
Undoubtedly, humans have evolved to be quite intelligent as compared to other animals. However, this does not mean that we cannot learn valuable things from our pets.

My biggest lesson? “Shake it off!” Dogs live in the moment. They do not worry about “what-ifs” or what “could be.”

I think this is a useful strategy to apply to diabetes management. When we see a high blood glucose value, it can be hard not to feel discouraged, especially if we’re struggling to find the reason behind it. Not everything is in our control, but by letting go, we can focus on the present moment and what we can do to make the best of what we have.

Finally, the unconditional love that a pet provides is priceless. No matter what kind of a day you’ve had, you can count on your pet to be happy to see you when you come home."

Above article taken from here

All the best Jan

33 comments:

Tom said...

...perhaps.

William Kendall said...

It makes sense to me.

bill burke said...

There are lots of positive benefits in having a pet.

NCmountainwoman said...

I think having a pet helps everyone and it's wonderful for children as well.

Victor S E Moubarak said...

Great advice here. Thank you.

God bless.

John R said...

I have three pets; two cats and a mad Collie. They keep me company during the day when there's no one else at home. I wouldn't be without them. They know when I'm happy and when I'm a bit down, and they really are great for relieving stress. Maybe not so much when the cats are chasing each other up the curtains, but that's life. Oh, I have a tank of fish, too. So, does mean I four pets?

mxtodis123 said...

I really miss having a pet, but after loosing my Miss Minga at the age of 23 I swore I would have no more. I'm getting up there in years now, money is tight, and aches and pains are setting in. Wouldn't be fair to a pet.

Beatrice Euphemie said...

I agree wholeheartedly! My dogs keep me busy and active and certainly do reduce stress. It's hard to feel anything but happy when they are so glad to see me - even if I just leave the room! Hope you have a wonderful weekend with your little companion. x Karen

DMS said...

I love my cats and I have been missing having a dog. I think pets are the best- so good for our health and happiness. :)
~Jess

Christine said...

Kind of like having kids!

Chris Lally said...

Great advice, Jan. Adopting a pet - everybody wins.

Iris Flavia said...

So true. One day I'll have a cat!
I wanted one from age 4 but my parents got a German shepherd instead. Sadly not a lucky choice...

Laurel Wood said...

I believe this.

Lady Fi said...

So true!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Although I'm not a diabetic, I felt like this was important advice. I would be lost without my two cats, so thanks for sharing this really good article.

natalia20041989 said...

I love animals,especially dogs, great article☺

RO said...

Pets are definitely the best, and they've been part of many, many miracles that have saved lives and brought joy to so many. Hugs and Happy Saturday! RO

Miss Val's Creations said...

It is so amazing what pets, particularly dogs, do for us people!

Maria Rodrigues said...

Companion animals are absolutely spectacular, especially dogs. I have a little dog and he's a wonderful company and a friend.
Have a nice weekeend
Warm hugs
Maria
Divagar Sobre Tudo um Pouco

Linda Calverley said...

You have a very clever dog. I don't have one myself but I dog sit now and then and take regular walks with my daughter-in-law and her dog.

by JFM said...

I have always, as does my family, know the health benefits of having pets.
This wonderful post just confirms what we have known for eons!!!

Happy Saturday!!!

Sami said...

I think dogs are more aware of certain health things than cats but I might be wrong. We have 3 cats and they always amuse us.

Ygraine said...

Absolutely! I have always believed a pet to be highly beneficial to our health and mental wellness.
I have two shubunkins, and when I sit to watch TV in the evening, they always come over to the corner of their tank and just look at me and stay there for as long as I'm there. I feel so comforted.
And they say fish are unintelligent!
Totally wrong, I'd say!!
Great post...many thanks.😊😊

Hugs

Sue said...

This is so true, I would love to have cats again but Mr Grumpy says 'it's them or me'. Don't make my choose... ;-)

Snowbird said...

All good reasons for adopting a pet. Lovely post.xxx

Sandy said...

Since I'm not a lover of dogs, having one would add to my stress. I've been attacked both as a young child and an adult by large dogs, so have a fairly substantial fear of big dogs. I love to walk, but get annoyed when trying to walk in the park and people have their dogs off leash which is against the rules. I do know several people who have therapy type dogs to help them with severe diabetes. I find that rather interesting.

Magic Love Crow said...

Great post Jan! Thank you! Big Hugs!

Teresa said...

Las mascotas nos dan muchas alegrías. Besitos.

Crafty Green Poet said...

excellent post, pets are always a good thing unless you're allergic to them

Ela said...

Thank you, that is interesting post !!
Greetings

It's me said...

I can’t live without my dogs....it is verry important for me ...happy week love Ria 💕

Bob Bushell said...

Pretty woof woofs.

Conniecrafter said...

I do miss our two cats and dog since they passed away, I am finally feeling like it is time to introduce one to our home but haven't found one yet