Dog can help child avoid weight gain
• With childhood obesity a continued concern, one study suggests that having a dog in the family can help to motivate kids to get moving. Among children 5 to 6 years of age, a family dog reduces the likelihood of obesity by half. Not only are children with dogs more likely to walk, but they’re also more likely to spend more time with the pet and less on the couch watching TV or playing video games.
?• The continued popularity of tiny dogs is driving the smuggling of puppies across the border from Mexico. On the California border, a task force of 18 regional law enforcement agencies is working to fight the smuggling of puppies across the borders in ways that are not only illegal, but cruel. Puppies have been found stuffed in car speakers, side door panels and under seats — and they’re often bound to prevent movement or noise. The puppies are also dying from contagious diseases and parasites, as well as poor breeding practices. Those puppies who live long enough are sold out of the trunks of cars in parking lots for cash — and many die after the sales from disease or poor care.
?• While pets do cost money to care for, their ability to lower stress is helping to get many people through economic hard times. According to dvm360.com, a survey of 400 pet owners reported that three-quarters of them were worried about finances, but 89 percent said their pets help them deal with the stresses of life. Most notably, the pet owners appreciated the steady and supportive presence of the animals in their lives.
— Dr. Marty Becker and Mikkel Becker Shannon