Tag Archives: health

Aging with Your Pets

Long View: Aging With Our Pets

My grandparents had a Chihuahua that lived to be 20 years old. Suzy had her own knitted sweaters to wear when she went outside. Every night, Grandma cooked and cut up liver in tiny, bite-sized pieces for Suzy’s dinner.

I’m not sure what the life expectancy and living arrangements for most dogs were in the 1950s and 1960s, but I would wager that Suzy’s life was particularly plush for that era. When I came along in 1968, my parents gave me the middle name of Sue. I often wondered if this was a happy coincidence or a tribute to that beloved Chihuahua.

Today, I have a yellow Labrador retriever puppy named Harvey. Grandpa’s name was Harvey. Touché.

Americans love their pets. Take a stroll through your local big-box pet supplies chain, and the number of things a person can buy for their animals will amaze you. Strollers, raincoats, probiotics, gluten-free and vegan dog food, and even memory foam mattresses. Within just a few miles of my house, Harvey can go to a doggy day camp, swim at an indoor pool just for pooches, and later have his hair and nails done at the pet spa.

Your pet pampers you in different ways. Owning a pet lowers stress, reduces blood pressure, and raises mental sharpness. A study from the University of Missouri-Columbia showed that petting a dog for 15 minutes releases the feel-good hormones serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin, while also lowering the stress hormone cortisol.

Pets can open up a lonely world and get you out of bed in the morning. Walking a dog (or a cat, if you are particularly brave and the cat is extremely cooperative) is good exercise. Those of us with an empty nest find a new sense of purpose. And nurturing a beloved animal gives us unconditional love in return.

An older person with a pet companion can be a heartwarming love match. I reached out to Stacey Teager, from the Quad City Animal Welfare Center, for some advice for those who are looking to add a pet to their home in later years.

  • Make sure your pet gets regular checkups and immunizations. Have your animal spayed or neutered.
  • Never give your pet “people” medications. Always consult a veterinarian before medicating your pet.
  • Have a plan in place with your family or close friends for caring for your pet should you become sick and need to be hospitalized or stay in a nursing facility.
  • Match your pet with your physical capabilities. My 50-pound Labrador retriever puppy can drag my mother down the sidewalk. This is dangerous for both her and the dog. A quieter, smaller animal is a better choice for her to walk around the neighborhood.
  • Despite my grandmother’s loving intentions, don’t feed your pet table scraps or human food. Animals can get overweight and unhealthy with just a few added ounces. If you like to bake, there are lots of recipes for animal treats that use ingredients found in your pantry.

Lora Felger is a community and broker liaison at Health Alliance. She is the mother of 2 terrific boys, a world traveler, and a major Iowa State Cyclones fan.

Act Happy Week

Act Happy Week

Next week is Act Happy Week, and happiness can affect your health more than you realize.

Live for the Day

 

Believe it or not, the effects of positive thinking can actually improve your health and happiness.

Positive Thinking Grows

 

Positive thinking lowers depression and distress and is tied to handling stress well.

Positive thinking is also tied to longer life spans, greater resistance to the common cold, and better heart health.

Active and Happy

 

Positive and optimistic thinkers also tend to live healthier lifestyles, with more physical activity and a healthier diet.

Act Happy for a Healthier Lifestyle

 

Practice makes perfect. Try putting things in positive terms. “I’ve never done it before” becomes “I can learn something new.”

Setting Hopeful Goals

 

Humor can help. Give yourself permission to laugh, especially at difficult times, which can help lower your stress.

Laughter as the Best Medicine

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Finding Passion this Hobby Month

National Hobby Month

January is National Hobby Month, and you may not realize how much hobbies can help your health and reduce stress.

Fishing for Your Health

 

No idea how to start finding a hobby as an adult? We can help.

Finding Hobbies As an Adult

 

How does our blogger bust boredom with hobbies in the winter? Steal her ideas.

Hobbies to Bust Boredom

 

If you need help getting started, Discover a Hobby can help you find the perfect fit.

Still at a loss? Try one of these ideas if you still need a new hobby.

Hobbies for All

 

January is the perfect time to turn your healthy New Year’s resolution into your new hobby.

Resolutions to Hobbies

 

Check in with our blogger as she prioritizes self-care through hobbies and projects.

Hobbies for Self-Care

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Skipping the Sweets

Sugar Awareness Week

For Sugar Awareness Week, we’re helping you learn about sugar and make healthy sugar choices.

Do you know which of your foods have added sugar in them? There are some you might not realize!

Hidden Sugar Awareness

 

Make sense of added sugar in processed foods to make better choices.

Making Sense of Processed Foods

 

Do you have a problem with sugar? Take the quiz and find out!

Your Sugar IQ

 

Experts are warning people about the dangers of sugars, but how much is too much?

Balancing Sugar in Your Diet

 

Kicking the habit of too much sugar in your diet can be difficult. What can you do to cut back?

Making Smart Sugar Choices

 

Take the Sugar Awareness Challenge and test how dependent on sugar you are.

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Start cutting back on sugar with these easy tips.

Cutting Back Sugar without the Sacrifice

Save

Save

Save

Save

Liver Awareness Month

Liver Awareness Month

It’s Liver Awareness Month, and the American Liver Foundation and Bayer have partnered to raise liver cancer awareness.

Raising Liver Cancer Awareness

 

The liver is one of the most important organs in your body, and 30 million people in America have a form of liver disease.

Are you at risk for liver cancer?

Are You at Risk for Liver Cancer?

 

Learn more about liver cancer to make sure you’re protected.

Learn About your Liver

 

There are more than 100 different types of liver disease, and they’re not primarily from drug and alcohol abuse.

Types of Liver Disease

 

It’s possible to have liver disease and have no idea. About 75% of people with hepatitis B and C don’t know they have it.

Learn About Liver Diseases

 

These 13 tips can help you protect your liver.

Exercise for Your Liver

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Healthy Lung Month

Healthy Lung Month

It’s Healthy Lung Month, and we think it’s important you know how your lungs work.

Make sure you know the signs of lung disease and are prepared to talk to your doctor.

Prepared to Talk Lungs

 

Keep your lungs healthy by adding exercise and avoiding smoking, pollutants, and infections.

Breathe Easier with Exercise

 

Visit the blog EACH Breath to stay up-to-date on healthy lung news and info.

Blogging to Breathe Better

 

Members can help their lungs with our no-extra-cost program Quit For Life® to break tobacco’s hold.

Quit Now for Healthier Lungs

 

Find local support for your lung disease, cancer, or issues.

The Support Your Lungs Need

 

Give back and get involved to protect lungs with events in your area.

Events to Get Involved

Save

Making the Most of Buttercup Squash Recipes

Healthy Buttercup Squash Recipes

Squash is in season, and this week, we featured buttercup squash recipes. You’ll love these healthy, hearty dishes!

Black Bean and Buttercup Wraps with Chimichurri Sauce are a great burrito substitute.

Black bean and buttercup wraps with chimichurri sauce

 

Roasted Chicken & Buttercup Squash with Herbed Honey Mustard is the perfect fall dinner.

Roasted Chicken & Buttercup Squash with Herbed Honey Mustard
Image and Recipe via Raising Jane

 

Make Buttercup Sage Mac and Cheese for a secretly healthy family favorite.

Buttercup Sage Mac and Cheese *with Bourbon*

 

Roasted Buttercup Squash & Tahini Dip will be your new fall-favorite appetizer.

Roasted Buttercup Squash & Tahini Dip
Image and Recipe via All Roads Lead to the Kitchen

 

Curried Buttercup Squash Soup is ideal for guests or dinner parties.

Curried Buttercup Squash Soup

 

These Mini Buttercup Squash Spice Cakes are a tasty dessert for fall cravings.

Mini Buttercup Squash Spice Cakes & A Baking Contest

 

Buttercup Squash Crumble Bars are a healthy snack your kids will love.

Buttercup Squash Crumble Bars

Save

Save