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Caring for a Special-Needs Pet Can Improve Your Health

Pet fostering offers the perfect, non-permanent opportunity for you to help a pet in need—and in turn, boost your well-being.

By Leah Zerbe

tags: DIABETES, PET CARE



Caring for a Special-Needs Pet Can Improve Your Health

Caring for a pet with special problems can be rewarding for both of you.

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—The prominent British Medical Journal recently reported on a small study finding that people with diabetes actually learn more about the condition and healthier living when they treat a pet for the same condition. And even if you're not living with diabetes, there are other good reasons to consider caring for an animal that needs special help.

THE DETAILS: For the study, published in Anthrozoös: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People and Animals, researchers interviewed healthcare professionals and 16 diabetic pet owners who treated their dogs or cats for the same condition. The study authors found is that people living with diabetes who treat their pet for the same condition blur the lines between caring for the disease in their pet and in themselves. People started using what they learned to treat their pet to better treat their own disease. The flip side is true, too: When people started noticing signs of diabetes in their pet, they used what they'd learned in their own treatment experience to help the pet.

WHAT IT MEANS: Spending time with animals improves our health. From relieving stress to producing health-boosting oxytocin, the love hormone, caring for pets offers many benefits. And as in the case of this study, sharing the same medical condition can actually help improve treatment for the person and for the pet. "Caring for a diabetic pet is really very similar to caring for a diabetic person. Insulin levels have to be managed," explains Kim Butler, spokeswoman for the rescue group Animal Coalition of Delaware County, located just outside of Philadelphia. "Depending on the severity of the condition, sometimes all it takes is a modified diet to maintain good health; otherwise, daily injections of insulin might be required, in addition to a modified diet."

In addition, regular monitoring of blood glucose levels is required—just as in people—and can be accomplished either at the veterinarian's office or by use of the blood glucose meters and test strips you see advertised on television.

Published on: June 14, 2010
Updated on: January 24, 2012



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I have a 2 year Golden

I have a 2 year Golden retriever that boosts my energy every time I play with him. I really believe that spending time with animals improve your health, because they have the magical power of lifting up your spirit. I love spending at least half an hour a day with the little one, it makes me happy and it relaxes me a lot. Once, he was really sick and we had to took him to an animal hospital. In few days he was back on his feet and, more than that, all the patients of veterinarians Rita Ranch were more happy and energetic because of him. I love my personal energy booster friend and I think that everyone should have a pet or at least play with one

healthy life

This is a very informative discussion, Perhaps to have a longer lifespan would be the common goal of most us, having a healthy body enable us to achieve the things that we used to do, one way of achieving that is to have as stress free life. Stay away from anxieties and burden. Be a n animal lover, this will provide you some form of relaxation.It is good to invest for your health because aside from nothing can stop you from doing what you want to achieve, when you are healthy you can enjoy physical activities, such as your favorite sports, more time to spend with loved ones and you don’t have to worry for any life threatening illness.

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