by Dawn Todd
I love sunshine. It’s one of the many reasons I love living in North Carolina… and why we sneak off to Anna Maria Island in Florida at every opportunity…. Lots and lots of sun.
With spring right around the corner, I thought it a great time to remind you about all the benefits that sunshine and fresh air offer not just us, but our pets as well.
Benefit #1: It’s not just a song, sunshine really does make us happy.
And lack of sunshine makes us SAD – literally. Growing up in Western New York I can attest first hand to that. Many people living in cloudy climates are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder – or winter blues. Why should our pets be any different? Sunshine stimulates the endorphins and neurotransmitters that regulate our mood. A once a week outdoor walk isn’t enough to keep your pampered pooch happy. Try to get them out every sunny day for some playtime and walking in the sun.
Benefit #2: Sunshine is important for healthy bones and may even lower risk for certain cancers. Vitamin D production requires sunlight,for us and our pets.
In humans, we’ve seen studies in the last few years that link chronically low levels of Vitamin D with a variety of cancers. Aside from possibly lowering our risk of certain cancers, Vitamin D is crucial for many metabolic functions- including balancing the phosphorus and calcium “pools” in our bodies- an essential for bone health.
Benefit #3 – Sunshine speeds healing.
Some bacteria thrive in dark, damp places. Sunshine helps wounds dry out, and can destroy yeast and bacteria that can grow in wounds. Periods out in the sun can help wounds heal faster.
Here are Dr. Todd’s Tips this month for a happy, healthy, companion:
Play Outside – We’ve talked about the importance of regular walks in a recent newsletter. Set a goal to get outside in the sunshine with your pampered pets at least one hour per day on sunny days. Windows tend to filter out some of the sun’s beneficial rays – there’s no real replacement for being out in direct sunshine.
Provide Shade – If you leave your canines outdoors unsupervised, be sure they have access to shade. It will be quite warm here soon, and our furry friends can overheat quickly.
Fresh, Clean Water – Be sure your dogs and cats have access to unlimited clean, fresh water at all times – especially when they’re outdoors. Remember to give those water bowls a good scrubbing with soap and hot water on a regular basis and change water daily. If you’re feeding your pets a raw diet, don’t expect them to drink nearly as much as pets eating a commercial dry food. We need lots of fresh water too– sodas aren’t a substitute for water – they contain sodium and are designed to keep us thirsty!
Feed Real Food – You are what you eat… and so are our beloved pets. We’re on a mission to get you to feed the highest quality diet you can afford to feed, with lots of variety – preferably a raw or fresh food diet. Click here to read more about our diet recommendations.
You Can’t Get Too Much Fresh Air & Exercise – Our energy efficient homes are designed to keep out fresh air and our windows don’t allow full spectrum sunlight in. Fresh air and exercise improve mood, lower body weight, decrease chronic disease, and promote better behavior in general — see you on the greenway!