Dawn A. Marcus, MD

Seat belt safety for pets

When I was a kid, we all watched Batman on TV as he and Robin jumped into the Batmobile. Before taking off, both super heroes paused to buckle their seat belts. And if you wanted to be cool like the bat duo, you made certain you did the same. Today, buckling up has become routine and the law in most states. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, […]

What’s in your pet’s tummy?

My dog Wheatie loves sticks and paper towels. If he had his way, our daily walks would include many stops for munching on sticks, twigs, and paper towels scraps. His fascination with these items resulted in me teaching him an excellent “drop it.” Sometimes, now, I almost think he just picks up a stick or paper scrap to wait for my command so he can spit it out to get […]

Therapy dogs take people to new heights

Therapy dogs do incredible work. Therapy dogs are seemingly ordinary pet dogs that have been trained to meet with strangers to provide stress relief, comfort, and healing. If you read books about therapy dogs, like my book The Power of Wagging Tails, you’ll discover that therapy dogs can make an impact wherever people might be in distress. Most people are familiar with therapy dogs going to visit residents of nursing […]

Wanna get healthy? Meet a friend

“Meet two friends and call me in the morning” may be good advice from your doctor. Medical researchers are learning more and more how strong social connections are linked to good health. Researchers call this social capital. When we think of capital, we usually think of money. Social capital is like money in the bank from having strong social supports. People who are involved in their communities, talk to their […]

Honoring the power of wagging tails at American Cancer Society Bark For Life

Chances are you know someone with cancer. According to the latest cancer statistics published in the  journal CA: A Cancer Journal For Clinicians, one in every four deaths in the United States is caused by cancer. In 2013, it is estimated almost 1.7 million people will be newly diagnosed with cancer and over 580,000 people will die from cancer. There is good news — cancer survival continues to improve. Cancer […]

Pets and Falls

Pets can be great companions, but pets can sometimes pull, bump, or get underfoot and cause falls. A survey in the United States found that 30 dog- or cat-related falls occur per 100,000 people per year. In this survey, almost 90 percent of injuries were caused by pet dogs rather than cats. A study in the journal of Accident Analysis and Prevention investigated dog-related injuries that resulted in emergency department […]

Adding Fiber to Your Diet

When you eat plants, your body can’t digest certain parts of the plant, giving you fiber. Fiber is a healthy part of your daily diet since it helps keep your bowels regular, reduce cholesterol, and help with glucose metabolism. In general, adult men should eat about 30–38 grams of fiber daily and women 21–25 grams. The lower recommendation is for men and women who are over 50 years old. Higher […]

Can You Have Pets When Your Immune System’s Compromised?

In The Power of Wagging Tails, we share countless stories and research about how human lives are made happier and healthier when they include a pet. Wagging tails have healing power and can help people fight and recover from a wide range of diseases. But what about when someone has a compromised immune system and they are more prone to getting infections? Is it safe to be around a pet?

Barking—How Dogs “Text” Their Friends?

We all know dogs are very social, serving as great role models for making and staying connected with friends. When my dogs are at home and one of their buddies passes by on the sidewalk, Wheatie is sure to make a few barks. You’ve gotta wonder—what’s he saying? Is barking a sign of stress? A way to show this is his territory? Or is it something else?

The Latest Tool for People with Diabetes Comes with a Leash

According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 26 million people in the United States have diabetes. Diabetes is characterized by abnormal glucose metabolism, with decreases in insulin activity and increased blood sugar levels. When you have diabetes, it’s important to monitor your blood sugar and adjust your diet, activity, and medications to help keep your blood sugar levels closer to normal levels.