9 Health Benefits Of Owning A Dog
Last updated on : November 17 2021
Dogs are one of the best things in life. They will love you unconditionally, keep you company when no one else is around, and laugh with you when you're feeling down.
If you think dogs are just good for keeping burglars away, think again.
There have been countless studies that prove owning a dog can benefit your health in many ways. Here are nine of them:
1) Dogs Will Keep You Active
There's nothing like taking Fido for his evening walk or throwing the ball across the backyard to get you out of your slump and back into the real world.
Dog owners tend to walk an average of 30 minutes more per day than those who do not own dogs- not only that, but dog owners also live longer.
Humans need exercise just as much as dogs do. So owning a dog gives you an excuse to get out of the house and go for a long walk or run every day.
Not only does this improve cardiovascular fitness, but having a dog forces you to be outdoors each morning which exposes you to more vitamin D from the sunlight (meaning stronger bones).
Plus, getting your heart rate up like this helps reduce your risk of developing blood clots or dangerous blood cell growths as tumors- especially when combined with increased estrogen levels from being around dogs.
2) Dog Owners Are Happier And Healthier
Many studies support that dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and loneliness than non-dog owners. Even when they do travel or go somewhere new, they generally feel safer in public with their furry companions around them.
Scientists believe that people who own dogs get sick less often because the dog's presence in the home provides added protection against colds and flu by increasing immunity in its owner through the dispersal of higher levels of cortisol (a compound that regulates immune response).
Also, researchers at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center found that when older people accompanied their dogs on a 30-minute walk three times per week for ten weeks, they experienced increased energy and decreased negative emotions like depression, anxiety, and hostility.
3) Dog Owners Have A Lower Risk Of Heart Attacks And Strokes
According to a recent study, dog owners are 40% less likely to die from heart disease than non-dog owners. The belief is that dogs provide their owners with a sense of purpose and responsibility- something lacking in most people's daily lives.
Having a dog forces you to get out for regular walks, which reduces stress levels and strengthens your cardiovascular system over time.
Having a dog forces you to relax. The sound of their furry friend's bark is proven to lower blood pressure and reduce stress hormones in the body.
When you have a terrible day, dogs are more likely than cats or other pets to come to sit with you, lick your face, or give you some lovin' to help cheer you up.
4) Owning A Dog Helps You Socialize More
People who own dogs tend to have more friends and meet up with them more often than those who don't. And when they do, it's much more likely that they'll get invited into their friend's homes for dinner or to watch the game than if they didn't own a dog.
Something about having a dog by your side in public gives you an automatic conversation starter. Walking down the street becomes much less awkward when you can say, 'Hey, how cute! What kind of dog is that?' and strike up a friendly chat with the owner.
5) Dogs Can Help Kids With Diabetes
There have been countless studies proving how having dogs around kids with diabetes can tremendously improve their quality of life.
Just being around their furry companions made these children feel more relaxed, less anxious about monitoring their condition, and they even had fewer episodes of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
Studies like this prove that dogs can benefit people with diabetes and lessen their need for daily injections.
Also, kids with Type 1 diabetes (the autoimmune type) and their families can benefit from having a trained service dog.
Not only do they help the owner by waking them up during the night to test blood sugar or administer insulin. But scientists proved that these dogs also made kids feel less anxious about their condition and more independent. Which helps encourage compliance with taking medication as directed.
6) Dogs Make Their Owners Live Longer
If owning a dog was a pill, it would be considered unethical not to prescribe it to everyone, given that dog owners live up to 30% longer than those who do not own dogs.
Also, when you get home from work or school, they'll greet you at the door like they haven't seen you in years- and we all know there's no better way to relieve stress than by taking it out on man's best friend.
A study conducted by the National Institute of Health found that owning a dog decreases the risk of depression and loneliness and increases self-esteem.
Dogs make their owners happy. And happiness is something everyone should strive for and want.
7) Dogs Can Help Kids With Autism Develop Social Skills
Dogs help children with autism develop social skills AND learn responsibility at an early age which can be very helpful as they get older.
When kids play with dogs, it's natural to mimic animal behavior and simple gestures like petting or rubbing behind the ears.
Such behaviors that may seem insignificant to some teach ASD kids how to read social cues better and improve their ability to communicate and interact with others.
While playing with a dog, kids with autism feel more relaxed and less anxious, improving their ability to socialize as they get older.
8) Feeding Dogs Helps You to Eat Healthier
If you like sharing a bag of chips with your dog, you're not alone.
80% of pet owners feed their dogs the same food as they eat or give them snacks that are bad for their waistline but good for their taste buds. Cat and dog treats should be seen as supplements to a healthy diet, not regular meals.
It goes without saying that if you want to lose weight, sticking to healthier fare instead of treating Fido will help you accomplish your goal faster than ever.
The simple fact is, having a dog around makes it so much easier to resist temptation because pets need to be fed on time. It keeps us accountable and reminds us every day why we should keep our plates clean (and away from Rover's nose).
It also helps with reducing junk food intake since a lot of it is BAD for dogs. If Rover can't have a chocolate cake, you sure as heck shouldn't either.
Oh, and while we're on the topic, make sure your pup has a healthy, well-balanced diet too. While many owners tend to feed their dogs first off the shelf, consider healthy alternatives like low-carb dog foods instead.
9) Dogs Help With Allergic Reactions in Kids
Having a dog as a child can help them cope better with allergies they may have.
Exposure to dogs in childhood can increase the antibodies in their immune system, making it less likely for allergic reactions to occur when they grow up.
Allergies are often outgrown if kids grow up around pets or farm animals, so make sure you introduce your dog to your children when they're young.
Pet allergies are common, but you can keep your dog's dander to a minimum by having them professionally groomed every 6-8 weeks.
There you have it. Nine ways that dogs can help you live a healthier life.
Make sure you give your dog a warm welcome when you get home from a long day- it'll improve their life and yours.
And while we're at it, make sure you take them for walks or play with them every day to keep them fit and happy. It benefits both of you in so many ways.
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The Kewl Shop
The Kewl Shop is a blog. We write about all things lifestyle with a strong focus on relationships, self-love, beauty, fitness, and health. Important stuff that every modern woman or man needs to know.
Editor: Charles Fitzgerald