Dog lovers all know that their canine companions make their lives better, but they may not have realized just how big of an impact it can have. It turns out that dogs aren't only just good company, they are actually going to help you in a lot of huge ways. They are such good boys and girls!
There are a variety of ways that dogs can improve your health, whether it's treating emotional issues or physical ones, they have a paw-scription for everything! These are the 10 reasons why owning a dog will be the best thing you can do for your health, or at least the cutest thing you can do.
1. Improves Heart Health
People who own dogs have lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol and are less likely to have heart attacks. Dogs also manage to lower the triglyceride levels in their owners, which greatly improves cardiovascular health. It's also proven that if a dog owner does happen to have a heart attack, they are more likely going to survive than those who don't.
2. Keeps You Active
When you own a dog, you are more likely to stay committed to an exercise routine because taking care of the dog includes taking them on walks. This has been shown to continue well into a person's 70s or 80s. Studies say that dog owners have "lower body mass index, fewer activities of daily living limitations, fewer doctor visits, and more frequent moderate and vigorous exercise."
3. Helps You Lose Weight
Staying active is a big part of losing weight, so it makes sense that owning a dog that keeps you active will help you shed those extra pounds. Research found that by giving people "loaner" dogs a few days a week, they were able to lose up to 15 lbs in a year. Having to walk a dog is considered a responsibility as opposed to regular exercise which doesn't have the same urgency.
4. Better Social Life
It helps to meet new people if you have an ice breaker, and what's a better ice breaker than a cute pup at your feet? According to Kay Joubert, Director Companion Animal Services at PAWS, “Dog owners in particular tend to be a little more extroverted, or outgoing. When you start to engage them about their companion animal, people tend to open up and really blossom. They want to share stories about their favorite friend.”
5. Lowers Stress
Therapy dogs aren't only around because they are cute. Spending time with dogs is scientifically proven to lower anxiety and blood pressure after only a few minutes. Your brain releases more of the neurochemicals serotonin and dopamine when you spend time with a dog, which contribute to a feeling of calm.
But that's not all they do...
6. Eases Depression Symptoms
By lowering stress and reducing anxiety, it can help people with depression deal with their symptoms. Scientists believe that they are beneficial for people who are feeling isolated and alone as it gives them a companion.
7. Gives You A Purpose
One of the ways that a dog can help with depression is that they give you a purpose. Having a dog forces you to do things you might not do otherwise. Joubert says that “It helps us to not just focus on our needs. It gives us a reason to really get up in the morning. ‘I need to get up and take care of my friend here.’”
8. Prevent Allergies In Kids
If your family owns a dog, don't feel like you need to get rid of it when a new baby arrives. Having a dog around will lower the chance that your kid will develop allergies by up to 33%. It also helps them develop much stronger immune systems which is obviously very important.
9. Fewer Doctors Visits
With stronger immune systems, come fewer doctors visits! It is likely a combination of factors that contribute to this, including the fact that they can make you feel less anxious, they increase your immune system, and they help you stay active.
10. They Can Be Trained To Help
Dogs can be trained to sniff out cancer and identify it early. They also are often used as service animals to help people how need help getting around. Dogs have actually been shown to help people with Alzheimer's as well because they keep them calm and help prevent flare-ups.
So pretty much, dogs are not only the greatest pets, but they are also good for our health. The only thing that you really need to watch out for is that they have the tendency to love you too much and follow too closely, which leads to tripping over them all the time. Well worth it though!