Are Dogs Good for Your Health? – Part 1 by Barbara Ebel, M.D.

You know this is going to be a fun topic.  Not only for dog owners, but I hope for all animal enthusiasts.

Can you believe it?  Based on Humane Society statistics, in 2001, there were 61 million owned dogs, and in 2008, there were 75 million owned dogs.  In 2001, 36% of U.S. households owned a dog, and in 2008, 39% of households owned a dog.

Dog ownership is on the rise, but there’s another trend, too.  As I compared statistics, the number of dogs per household has been going up.  In 2008, 63% of folks with dogs owned one, 25% owned two, and 12% owned three or more.  It’s my theory that as the baby boomers are retiring, they are the ones becoming multi-pet owners.  I’m an example, having gone from no dogs to three dogs in the past 10 years.  Here is Buck, Putt-Putt and Chester:


So, along with the U.S. stats I just mentioned, this first blog of the topic will update what’s going on with dogs in society and by the second blog, I’ll be discussing what exactly a therapy dog is and what they do.  These subjects encompass the undisputed fact that dogs positively influence our lives in meaningful and healthy ways.

Because of our passion for our canine friends, society is incorporating them in new roles.  When you travel and don’t have your dog, you miss them, right? More and more, hotels will accommodate your longing.  Stay at a hotel, such as the 4-star hotel across the bridge from MIT in Boston, and ‘borrow’ the dog who has a nice set-up in their lobby.  Take the dog for a walk – the both of you can use the exercise and you’ll feel at home with a substitute friendly dog.

Or what about flying with your dog?  More airlines accept small ones right in the main cabin.  Although this airline didn’t survive long term, a Pet Airways was flying Fido across country like a paying passenger member of the family.  Sooner or later, probably another start-up airline will fill their shoes.


Here’s another option occurring in some college dorms – dogs allowed under 40 pounds.  Your college-bound child can bring Fido and ease the transitional pain of leaving home.


What about the future of older peoples’ care facilities?  It is thought that sometime in the future there will be a federal mandate to allow a live-in care facility pet (many already have them).

How about what’s going on with education?  I know, at least at Tennessee Tech, there has been a course for nursing students – an overview of the animal-human connection, the impact of animals on human well-being, and the prominent roles of animals assisting humans in developing a modern society.  These students extra-curricular participation also encompasses personal experience in animal therapy work.

Society is no doubt changing to keep pace with man’s love affair with dogs, stemming from how dogs benefit them.  That’s enough for this blog and we’ll continue in two weeks.  My talks stems from one of my Power Point presentations and I have a trained therapy dog (Chester, in the picture) who does  philanthropy besides being the star of a children’s book series. You can meet him  at http://dogbooksforchildren.weebly.com (especially on ‘Chester’s Page’) .

I hope you enjoyed my bi-monthly health blog. Check out the recipe below and sign up for new posts to my blog.

For more health pearls, check out my book Younger Next Decade on my website or major online outlets. And, my big news is that Silent Fear: a Medical Mystery was just published last week!  It made two 100 bestseller categories on Amazon’s Kindle’s store within 48 hours.  Check it out!


Silent Fear a Medical Mystery eBook

This meatloaf recipe I’ve named “Mom’s Meatloaf.”  It was handed down to my Mom from her Mother and not only did I grow up with it, but it’s regularly made now in my kitchen!  It is so easy to make and I obviously think it’s the best meatloaf recipe around.

Mom’s Meatloaf

1 ½  lbs ground beef, 1 cup tomato or V-8 juice, ¾ cup OATS, 1 egg, ¼ cup chopped onions, 1 tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper

Mix all ingredients and put in loaf pan at 350 degrees for 1 hour.


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