Health Benefits To Owning A Dog

No doubt about it, the love of dogs is universal, bringing joy to millions of households in multiple ways. But did you know there are proven health benefits to owning a dog? Turns out, your dog is a natural at taking care of you, and you may not even realize it.

Let’s take a closer look…..Health benefits to owning a dog

Cardiovascular Health – Far too many people live a more sedentary lifestyle than they should. And while the importance of exercise is a well known fact, opting for the couch vs the gym is not uncommon. However, this is where dogs can take the credit for getting people up and moving. For example, people are far more likely to take a walk when they know there is a pooch anxiously awaiting. Among other things, dog owners jog, hike, bike, play fetch, partake in agility, and attend dog parks. All of these constitute movement which in turn is healthy for the heart.

Depression – Dogs can help with depression simply by existing as a devoted, non-judgmental, and constant companion. Depression can also lessen a bit when a dog prods it’s owner to let him out, or take a walk. A change of scenery, as well as a distraction from thoughts, can all be advantageously good for mood-boosting.

Blood Pressure – How many times have you had a bad day and instinctively reached out to hug or pet your dog? It’s basically a form of self-medicating. The good thing is, studies have shown that the presence of a dog lowers blood pressure and heart rates. Just one more positive to chalk up to dog ownership!

Loneliness – Human to human interaction is an important aspect of ones well-being. But, when feeling a bit on the lonely side, a dog can fill part of the void, and lift spirits. Think of how many times your dog has made you smile or laugh. Would you have done that if you were alone?

Socialization – If you did an experiment that consisted of walking in a public area alone vs walking with a dog, I’m sure you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that many strangers would strike up a conversation in the scenario including the dog, but not the other way around. A dog can be a great way to meet new people, and provides an instantaneous ice-breaker.

Stress/Anxiety – Dogs posses a natural calming effect and can put people at ease. Using dogs in clinical situations is a strategy that has long found to be helpful in settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, hospice care, and rehabilitation centers. Although just petting your dog at home after a long, hard day has been found to ward off some stress and anxiety too.

Cancer – Dogs have smelling capabilities far superior to that of humans. Much the same as we rely on our sense of sight to view the world, dogs rely on their sense of smell, learning all they know by sniffing about. In a research setting, they have been able to sniff out breast, bladder, skin, prostate, lung, ovarian, and colorectal cancers with startling accuracy. It’s a shame that this ability has only been used in research thus far, and not for actual patient detection. But, there have been many cases reported from dog owners that their dog had, in one way or another, alerted them to the fact that something was wrong, only to later be diagnosed with cancer.

The benefits surrounding the dog to person relationship seem endless. So, the next time your furry companion gets into mischief, barks too much, or causes a high veterinarian bill, bear in mind the benefits he brings!

 

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