Helping Your Pet to Live a Long, Healthy Life

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

I have been a happy pet own most of my life, but perhaps never more connected than I was with our last two dogs: female chow chows named Chebacca (Chewie) and Shira Kuma (meaning white bear). 
 
This summer was a sad one for me as it was time to assist dear Kuma "to sleep."  We could tell she was suffering during her last few days, but would not appreciate the cause until she was medicated and I could feel the large tumor in her abdomen. Kuma would have been 14 on July 30, and Chewie lived to be the same age as well. That is pretty good considering that the life expectancy for their breed is 9-12 years. 
 
I share this story with you because I know many of you are devoted pet owners as well. Whether canine or feline, our four-legged friends teach us so much about unconditional love. Medical research continues to endorse the healing benefits of our animal companions. Specifically, research has shown that pets can significantly increase longevity for people with coronary artery disease and those who have actually had a heart attack. Pet connections also reduce blood pressure, and enhance your opportunities to meet others while you are out with them. Pets also allow people to live alone without feeling lonely.  
 
If you love your pets as much as my wife and I continue to love ours, here are a few pointers that we think helped our own pets to live long lives:

1. Earthing. Pet paws naturally touch the earth, but if they walk primarily on asphalt with little contact with the earth's health promoting free electrons, they need grounding. I’m hoping to develop pet-sized Earthing products in the near future, but in the meantime I hear amazing stories of cats jumping onto grounding mats and sheets without prompting. A Facebook follower commented her cat "gravitates" to her grounding gear. For housebound cats especially, grounding is critical—even if it’s lying on the concrete cellar floor instead of non-grounding manmade materials on the bed or sofa. Plus, when walking your dog, aim for grass, dirt, concrete, or sand—and remember, wetter is better for conducting.
 
2. Environmental toxins. Secondhand smoke and other air pollutants hurt our pets the same way they hurt us—including birds, hamsters, and other pets. Protect them.
 
3. Supplements: I shared my Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and d-ribose with all three of my Spitz-breed dogs. I'd lost dogs of various other breeds to things like heartworm before I knew about CoQ10. Once I learned more about supplements, I began to give all of them CoQ10 and added d-ribose once my healthy dogs were over the age of 10. The combination visibly enhanced their physical energy, and none of them had heart failure. If your pet does have heart failure, try a sprinkle of d-ribose in their water. Plus, for my dog Charlie who had joint issues, I used natural canine products to support joint health and mobility, like boswellia and curcumin. 
 
Plus, for those of you who have (or know someone who has) recently lost a pet, I’d like to link you over to an earlier blog about losing a pet called  "The Rainbow Bridge." This hope-filled tribute continues to comfort my family, and all those with whom we share it. 
 
There’s no question that pets become beloved members of our families. I think the stone on the grave of our 14-year-old elkhound Charlie says it best: "Dogs leave paw prints on our hearts." The same goes for any other beloved pet in your life.
 
Now it’s your turn: How has a pet changed your life?
 

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