8 Health Benefits of Owning a Dog
Dogs play a major role in many humans’ lives. Some occasionally tear up the furniture and raise the deposit on your rent, but most of them are also cuddly and lovable, and serve as a built-in best friend.
Did you know, however, that the presence of a dog in your life can lead to better health? It’s certainly true that healthy diet and exercise are two primary components of a healthier lifestyle. But if you’re looking to give your health an extra edge, a dog might be just the ticket.
There’s a reason dogs have become such a ubiquitous fixture in the contemporary lifestyle. For many people, dogs are the equivalent of children; they certainly receive similar treatment.
And at least one reason for that is: Dogs give us surprising health benefits.
- Allergy Repellants
Some people automatically associate pets with allergies to animal dander. However, studies indicate that most people actually have fewer problems with allergies when dogs are around.
A growing number of studies found that children who grew up with a dog in the home were 33 percent less likely to have pet allergies than those who lived in pet-free homes. Because of the early exposure, their system built an immunity to allergens that helped them stay healthier during allergy season.
- Mood Boosters
Even just 10 minutes with a dog can make you feel more relaxed and calm, which lifts your mood. Playing with your dog, going for a run, and even sitting quietly on the sofa with your pet snuggled up to your feet can goose the pleasure centers of your brain.
- Natural Wingman
Need a date? According to research, everyone needs a date now and then for their mental health. Pets are an excellent magnet for dates. They helps you start conversations and make real connections that may lead to a healthier love life.
- Stress Relievers
Recently, offices have been allowing more pets in the workplace because of the psychological benefits. That’s partly in response to studies that reveal dogs are an excellent mechanism for releasing stress. According to a study out of SUNY Buffalo, married couples with dogs reported far less stress than those without.
- Fitness Experts
Dogs naturally crave physical activity, and taking your dog for a walk every day promotes exercise for you as well. People are far more likely to go for walks or throw a Frisbee in the park when they have a dog along.
- Faster Medical Recovery
People who have a terminal illness or other serious condition are often prescribed a service animal to comfort them and lift their spirits while they go through the recovery stages of an illness.
For example, dogs have helped those with rheumatoid arthritis cope with the pain. They encourage physical activity that helps to restore joint movement, and their companionship encourages patients to keep their mind off their condition.
- ADHD Focus
Many people diagnosed with ADHD have a difficult time focusing because of pent-up energy and an inability to control it. Dogs exert a calming effect for folks who suffer from this condition. They offer a solid outlet for all that energy and teach kids responsibility. Dogs have also proved useful in helping people feel more comfortable during treatment as well.
- Heart Health
The Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute of Health have both certified that dogs promote heart health. These institutions conducted heart-related studies that showed a reduction in blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.
When these levels are low, it reduces the risk of the patient having a heart attack down the road. Having a dog means more than having a built-in friend. It means a healthier lifestyle throughout the rest of your day.