Lindsay Young (@eatyoungnutrition) is a Holistic Nutritionist, who Flora has been working with for the last couple of years. When Lindsay welcomed Rosy, a Great Dane puppy to her family in May, we were excited to introduce her to our BiologicVET line of pet care products. Join us as we follow Rosy’s growth, development, and of course her puppy antics over the next 6 months. If you are one of the many people who added a fur-friend to your family during the COVID-19 quarantine, you can probably relate to Lindsay’s experiences with Rosy… so follow along!
How Rosy Has Improved My Health by Lindsay Young
I used to work for a non-profit that helped subsidize the cost of service animals for people who couldn’t afford them. That was when I learned service animals could help in ways other than to see for the sightless. A huge range of conditions could qualify you for a service animal and many of them pertained to mental illness. I loved the thought that we were helping these people feel safer and happier in their every day lives with a service animal.
But not until about a month ago did it really click for me that Rosy has given me many of those exact benefits: unconditional love and safety. It’s funny, back when I had that job, on an unconscious level I separated myself from those people and families who desired a service dog. I wasn’t aware of that mental block but nevertheless I’ve come to understand that there’s no “us and them” in regard to mental illness. While we may always not experience it, none of us are immune to stress, anxiety, depression, and many other forms that mental illness takes.
Mental Health & Pets
There are actual studies on the effect of animals on mental health. In one study, participants who expressed they were under stress experienced a drop in anxiety levels regardless of if they were animal lovers. I’m sure most of us experience a similar feeling in the presence of our pets.
I’m constantly surprised at the innate level of empathy dogs’ display. They not only understand when humans are in distress, they often try to comfort and offer sympathy when they sense sadness or fear. I have seen this with Rosy numerous times. If I’m having an off day or in pain of some sort, she knows and stays close by, even offering her toys or nuzzling for comfort. To be comforted in such a kind way by an animal is so special to me!
Immune and Gut Health & Pets
Being a nutritionist, I have known of the immune benefits of having a dog. Essentially having a pet that roams outside introduces microbes we would otherwise be unlikely to come in contact with. And we know that strengthening the immune system means diversifying the microbiome in our bodies. It mirrors the measure of a healthy ecosystem on our planet. Having a wide range of species means that if a few are wiped out for some reason, the ecosystem doesn’t suffer a huge loss.
Clearly, we have bred some of these desirable features into dogs (and cats, too) because they’re important to us in the companions we seek. So, all in all — service dogs or simple house pets — both have a positive impact our health, mentally and physically.
Lindsay Young @eatyoungnutrition is a nutritionist and lover of food from around the world. She’s passionate about making healthy, home cooked food accessible and approachable for everyone. She hosts workshops in her home town, Kelowna, sees clients and works as a recipe developer and food photographer.