Check Out Our Other DOGust Blogs:  Let’s Celebrate DOGust!,  D.I.Y. DOGust Pup-sicles,  Seven Ways To Celebrate DOGust

rescue dog in home with new family

It’s August, and if you’re a dog lover, you might know what that means! This month is lovingly called DOGust because it’s the dedicated birthday month of rescued pups that don’t have a formal birth date.

In honor of DOGust, and out of love for shelter pets everywhere, we’re sharing our favorite facts about pet adoption and wellness. Warning: awesome, heart-warming facts are to follow.

“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.”
―Karen Davison

Fact: Approximately 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted each year in the U.S.
1.6 million of those pets are dogs. That’s a lot of happier, healthier American homes.

Fact: There are legitimate health benefits to adopting a pet.
Side effects of adding a shelter dog to your family include decreased blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels. As if that wasn’t enough, a recent study found that dog ownership was associated with a 24% reduction in dying from any cause. We guess a doggo may be the ticket to immortality.

“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.”
—M.K. Clinton

Fact: Dog ownership benefits include emotional ones, too.
Pet owners often experience an increase in opportunities for exercise, outdoor activities and socialization, and experts say that pets naturally boost our moods. Harvard (by way of Science) talked about oxytocin, one of the body’s “feel good” chemicals, and how it is released for both dog and owner when they look into each other’s eyes. Oxytocin is also related to social bonding.

Other evidence suggests that having a pet at your side during an anxious experience could help reduce the stress you feel, as interacting with animals is shown to reduce levels of cortisol, a stress-related hormone.

Fact: Pets are natural therapists.
Pets improve our health and happiness, but they’re also instrumental in therapy. As reported by CNN Health, a 2015 study found children with ADHD who read to real animals improved in sharing, cooperation, volunteering and other social skills compared to those who read to a stuffed animal. Another study showed that caring for fish helped teens with diabetes better manage their disease. Yet another study from Vanderbilt University showed that the parents of children undergoing cancer treatment “showed a significant drop in parenting anxiety over their child’s pain and ability to cope” when their children were provided access to therapy dogs just before treatment procedures. (The children enjoyed it too, of course.)

“Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, and filling an emptiness we didn’t ever know we had.”
―Thom Jones

The Ones We Rescue, Rescue Us
There’s so much evidence to support the fact that adopting a pet is good for both dog and owner—we couldn’t fit all of it in this article. But, we’re hoping this is the nudge you need to consider adopting a dog of your own.

Find a shelter pet near you with tools like this one from the ASPCA. And, when you’ve found your forever friend, make sure to stock up on nutritious, no-junk dog food to keep them happy and healthy.

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