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The Ruff Report: Research news about dogs

Dogs are better medicine than pills

Feeling blue or anxious? Try cuddling up with a dog.

Stanley Coren, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia and author of the book The Modern Dog: A Joyful Exploration of How We Live with Dogs Today, says having a dog nearby works better than prescription drugs to control depression and stress in people.

"The data is absolutely unambiguous," Coren told the Vancouver Sun said in an interview. "This actually works better than having a loved one next to you."

People also will feel better faster from having a beloved dog close by than from taking pills, according to Coren's book. People showed signs of reduced stress when they were with their dog in only five to 24 minutes compared with the days or weeks it can take for prescription medications to help with stress and depression.

Research also shows that dog owners - especially seniors - make fewer visits to the doctor and are more physically active. Seniors who live with a dog are four times less likely to suffer from depression than those without a dog.

"It's quite an amazing statistic," Coren says. (January 11, 2009)

Sponsors sought for animal health studies

An animal advocacy research organization is seeking sponsors to help fund nearly 200 health studies in 2009.

Morris Animal Foundation of Denver - which funds research that protects and improves the health of companion animals and wildlife - will fund projects to help dogs, cats, horses, llamas/alpacas and wildlife at nearly 50 of the world’s most elite veterinary colleges, zoological institutions and scientific research centers, according to a media release.

The research work includes 46 canine studies, many involving heart disease, infectious diseases like influenza and pain management; 30 feline studies, many dealing with asthma, cancer, kidney diseases and diabetes; and 17 equine studies, many involving foal diseases, laminitis, pain management and colic.

The foundation, established in 1948, has funded more than 1,500 humane health studies for the benefit of animals. Visit for more information. (December 20, 2008)


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