Pets, especially dogs and cats, can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness, and even improve your cardiovascular health. Caring for an animal can help children grow up more secure and active. Pets also provide valuable companionship for older adults. Dogs are amazing pets and even better friends. From the moment that you welcome a furry friend into your home and life they will instantly become like family – and the most loyal of family members.
When you’re done reading this list of health benefits, you’re going to want to get some fun treats for your dog at a local Petco or Time for Paws pet shop. Or you might even want to splurge on dog friendly furniture – because there’s lots of reasons to appreciate your dog.
1. Dogs Reduce Stress
Dogs are sort of like furry therapy. In fact one of the great things about getting a dog (other than their sweet little faces and cuddly fur) is their stress busting benefits. Dogs have a wonderful way of reducing our stress levels. And if you are like most adults, you will be glad of this assistance!
When we pet a dog or play with our pet, our brains release a chemical called dopamine which makes us feel happy and relaxed. Plus petting a pet has also been researched to elevate oxytocin (linked to happiness and relaxation).
2. Dogs Help Childhood Development
If you have a young child, getting a puppy can be a wonderful way to help them improve their emotional development skills in their younger years.
Owning a dog can help a child build their confidence and social skills – because they will always be meeting new people when out walking their dog.
Plus owning a dog can help a child to develop skills such as hand eye coordination when playing fetch with their new friend.
3. Dogs Keep You Fit
Walking a dog also helps people to stay physically active – which is healthful for the body.
After all, you can’t come home at the end of the day and decide to sit inside and avoid exercise. Your puppy will need a walk out in the park to keep them healthy.
Basically, having a puppy is a great way to keep you motivated to stay fit. And it can be a fun way to lose a few pounds.
4. Dogs are good for your heart
When interactions between humans and dogs have been studied, touching or talking to a dog have been found to lower blood pressure. There’s also the fact that dog owners have to walk their dogs and often get more exercise than those who don’t own dogs.
You have less risk of developing heart disease because of the decrease in blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol levels. It’s also been found that dog owners who do have heart attacks are more likely not to suffer another event than those who don’t own dogs.
5. Dogs are great companions for the elderly
Dogs provide companionship for old people and can help to reduce depression and anxiety. They are found to forge connections with elderly people suffering from conditions like Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
One study found that Alzheimer’s patients who owned dogs were subject to fewer emotional outbursts caused by anxiety and less aggression than patients who did not own dogs.
6. Dogs offer protection
Dogs are very loyal to their owners and will often go to great lengths to warn and protect them against any danger. They have territorial qualities, and their instincts are so sharp that they are quick to react if someone is trying to break into your house or they feel you are in any danger.
7. A dog’s sense of smell can keep you healthy
Dogs can be trained to detect prostate cancer, according to a recent study. They can also help you avoid foods you’re allergic to. Several places in the United States train dogs to sniff out the slightest trace of peanuts in the room. With so many children suffering from severe peanut allergies, this ability can be a godsend to their families. Dogs can also be trained to alert diabetics to a low blood sugar level.
8. Dogs make us happy
In fact, even just looking at a dog can make you happier. A study in Japan in 2009 found that just staring into your dog’s eyes raises your level of oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone.” Other studies have shown that owning a dog can alleviate depression, and this is especially true for older adults. As social ties loosen and family members live farther apart from each other, seniors are at risk of becoming isolated and lonely,
which is a cause of depression. Research studied people 60 years and older who didn’t live with a human companion, but had a pet. Their likelihood of being diagnosed with depression was one-quarter as likely as non-pet owners.
9. Dogs add meaning and purpose to life
When you own a dog, you have a faithful, loyal companion. As you grow older, and especially once you are retired, it is more difficult to structure your day and find meaning in your life.
Dogs help to take care of this because you have the responsibility of feeding them and exercising them. They can provide a reason for you to get up in the morning. They also help you to take your mind off your own problems because they need your attention and your love.
10. Dogs Help You Cut Down Doctor Visits
A study was done a few years back which took a look at people who visit the doctors. Guess what? When the people in this study got a dog, their doctor’s visits were reduced by 50%.
Plus, it has also been shown that owning a dog can reduce the recovery time after a heart attack due to reducing the blood pressure of the owner.
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11. Dogs Keep You Connected To Other Humans
Walking a dog also helps people to stay social – because pets are people magnets and can lead to friendly conversations.
As soon as you step out of the house with a puppy you will get to meet many people – who all want to meet your dog. This will include other dog owners – as well as people who just want to say hello to your furry friend.
You will soon have a whole host of new friends (both on two legs and four legs) who you will see almost every day on your walks.
Best of all, you get double the health benefits walking a dog.
- You get to be socially active – which is good for your emotional health.
- You get to be physically active – which is good for your body’s health.