Lucky critters – how pets improve our health

Did you know there is a week dedicated to honoring our canine companions? National Dog Week is the last full week in September and we’re taking time out, in advance, to observe National Dog Week and look at the health benefits of pets.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, owning a pet is linked to a decrease in blood pressure, total cholesterol and triglycerides. Great, so all we need to do is adopt a pet to be healthy? While we do want to encourage everyone to consider helping our local Pima Animal Care Center by adopting or fostering one of the thousands of animals taken in each year, there is more to the connection between pets and improved health.

Important aspects of being healthy include staying active, managing stress, having a strong sense of purpose and having a good social support network. Owning, fostering or even volunteering to work with animals can help us more easily achieve these healthy behaviors.

1. Purpose and connection

Having a pet or participating in a program that cares for animals gives us purpose and helps connect us with others who have similar values and passions. Pets can serve as a social icebreaker for people who tend to be shy and more introverted, easing the creation of social bonds. Through these connections, we can develop a support network that goes beyond the commonality of pet ownership. 2. Improve mood and decrease tension or stress

2. Improve mood and decrease tension or stress

Hopefully, everyone has had the opportunity to experience the unconditional love that a pet greets you with when you return home or go to visit them. This greeting alone can improve mood and decrease tension or stress. Animals can keep us in the present moment, which helps to distract us from our worries and problems that we might tend to ruminate about.

3. Reduce heart rate and blood pressure

Many studies have demonstrated that petting an animal can reduce heart rate, blood pressure and perceived level of stress. Plus, how can you not feel joyful when animals look at you with such adoration as you pet them?

4. Maintain a routine and stay active

Pets, and dogs most specifically, help us to maintain a routine and stay active. While we may be willing to skip our own exercise, we are not likely to say no to our loving pets! Even if it is just a quick walk around the neighborhood, remember, any activity is better than nothing. If you are interested in a more rigorous workout, please take a look at our post on running with our four-legged friends.

Regardless of what type of activity you choose to do with your pet, getting into a routine can also have an impact on the other health choices we make throughout our day. Once you are consistently doing one thing to benefit your health, you are more likely to follow up with others, such as making healthy food choices or getting better quality sleep.

 

We want everyone to be ‘lucky dogs’ and enhance their lives and health. Gina Darling of Mrs Green’s World will be hosting a session on Environmental Responsible Pet Care at The Core at La Encantada on Sunday, September 24th.  And for more information on exercising safely with your pet, join us Wednesday, September 27th at 5:30pm with Gina Hansenn of PACC. Click here to learn more about the events.

TMC celebrates pets in three September events

Pets can be part of a healthy lifestyle, from lowering blood pressure to reducing stress and encouraging owners to move more.

With the last week of September National Dog Week, TMC is going to the dogs (and cats) in three separate pet-friendly events at The Core at La Encantada.

  • Think your pup has what it takes to be a therapy dog to help cheer up patients, visitors and staff in the hospital? Come find out how to join TMC’s Pet Therapy team and – with the help of Pet Partners of Southern Arizona – learn the ins and outs of getting certified on Saturday, Sept. 2 at 10 a.m. Click here to register.
  • If you have a pet, you’ve probably at some point contemplated whether pet food, pet toys and cleaning products are OK for the environment. Come learn about environmentally friendly pet care with Mrs. Green’s World on Sunday, Sept. 24 at 2 p.m. Click here to register.
  • Pima Animal Care Center has thousands of pets each year (like PACC alumni Chester shown here) looking for a new home – and new exercise buddies. Join Care Center staff in learning more about how to exercise safely with your pet on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 5:30 p.m. Click here to register.

Pets are welcome at these three events. Find out more by visiting The Core at La Encantada.

Surviving the summer sizzle with the TMC Security team

Security_Services_SealsTMC Security Services and the Crime Prevention K9 Unit are dedicated to maintaining a safe community in Southern Arizona.  Officers provide the following useful safety information to help you and your family stay safe this summer.

Monsoon driving safety tips

If you’ve lived in Tucson for any length of time, you know the drill.  In the late afternoon, dark clouds fill the sky, and the town can be soaked in a matter of minutes.  Washes and roadways can resemble small rivers, creating dangerous driving conditions.

      ▪  Never try to cross flooded roads.  Even shallow running water exerts 
         great pressure and can sweep your car off the road or stall your engine.  
         Under the Arizona “Stupid Motorist Law,” a driver requiring rescue 
         from a flooded wash with posted warning signs or gates may be held 
         responsible for the cost of the water rescue.  These drivers may be cited
         by law enforcement for numerous charges depending on the incident.

     ▪  If you’re driving and a find your visibility limited due to heavy rain or 
         blowing dust, do the following:
          ∙  Pull off to the right side as far as possible. 
          ∙  Turn off your engine and lights.
          ∙  Stay inside your vehicle.
          ∙  Keep your foot off the brake pedal.  Drivers may see your lights and 
              assume you are on the road in motion.
          ∙  If you approach an intersection with a non-functional traffic signal,
              treat it as a four-way stop.
          ∙  Listen to your car radio for the latest traffic and weather conditions. 

Summer safety in vehicles

The TMC Security team encourages people to use extreme caution during the summer’s extreme heat.  When temperatures outside reach 100 degrees, the temperature inside a car can reach 138 degrees in five minutes!  Within 15 minutes, it can reach 150 degrees, even with a window partially open.

In these conditions, children and pets can die in a matter of minutes. Infants and small children are particularly vulnerable; the younger the child, the faster the onset of heat stroke and dehydration.  In 2012, at least 37 heatstroke deaths of children in vehicles were reported nationwide.  So far this year, 21 children have died in hot vehicles.  Follow this advice to make sure your loved ones don’t succumb to the summer sizzle.

     ▪  Children
          ∙  Simply do not leave kids in the car.
          ∙  Secure your car keys so children don’t have access to them.
          ∙  Warn your children about playing in the car by themselves without
             adult supervision.
          ∙  Get your kids out of the car first, and then worry about bringing in
              groceries, etc.
          ∙  Ask your child’s day care provider about their plan to make sure kids
             are not left in the provider’s car or van.

     ▪  Pets
          ∙  Never take your dog with you to run errands in which you plan on
             leaving him/her in the car – even for a few minutes.


Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461