It is a proven fact that dogs can work wonders for your well being. Bringing home a new puppy can prove to be a spirit-lifter, of course, but the health benefits of owning a dog can improve our lives long term.
If dogs have been a large part of your life growing up and into adulthood, you’ll know the value of having a dog-friend. When go awry or feel out of control, there was always someone to cuddle with. Whenever you’ve felt alone, you know you never really were because there was always a furry friend that wanted love and attention, and was willing to give it back. If you had a close relationship with your dog, you’ll know that your pup kept you emotionally sustained to some degree.
But your dog brings much more to the table (food dish?) than just what is on the surface. These benefits of owning a dog may surprise you!
Health Benefits of Owning a Dog
In their infinite love for us, dogs have a power to improve our health in ways that we don’t even know.
Improving your Heart Health
Dogs may fill your heart with joy, but did you know that they could possibly also make your heart stronger as well? Studies have shown time and time again that having a dog can really help you with your blood pressure. According to this article by Harvard Health, they may also reduce your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. These contribute to better cardiovascular health in general.
Experts recommend that adults get around 2 and a half hours of exercise every single week. Dog owners are much more likely to hit that goal. People love to be outside to walk their dog, or even to play with them. It also gives you the motivation you need to get out of the house, which is ideal if you work long hours. Having a dog in your later years can also help you to keep active. Those who have dogs tend to have a lower BMI as well, which is great if you are trying to maintain your figure.
Improving your Social Life
As you age, it may become harder and harder for you to meet people. If you are a dog owner then you may not feel as though this is the case. Research has shown that 40% of dog owners find it easier to make friends, and 4 out of 5 people speak with other dog walkers when they are out and about. Having a dog gives you a great talking point and you would be surprised at how easy it is for you to really connect with other people.
There is a reason why therapy dogs are so great. Spending just a few minutes with a dog can lower your anxiety by a huge amount. If you want to increase your levels of serotonin and dopamine then a dog can do that for you as well, and these two chemicals can play a huge part in your overall sense of well being. People who are performing stressful tasks also tend to do better when dogs are around too because they can help you to reduce tension by simply being in the room.
Meaning and Purpose
As you grow older, it can be difficult for you to find structure and meaning in your day. Dogs can help you with that because they force you to keep on doing things, and to take care of another being. They also encourage you to stay active as well. If you’re not feeling well emotionally or even physically, having a dog can really help you with that. They can also prevent isolation and loneliness, which often comes with getting older.
It’s believed that dog owners are far less prone to experiencing depression when compared to those who don’t have dogs. Dogs can help you in so many ways and they can also help you with your overall well being. If you don’t want to get a dog full-time, then it’s worth looking into a therapy dog. These are dogs that do not stay in your home, but they can help you to ease the symptoms of depression regardless of your age.
Experts once believed that having a dog in your home contributed to allergies. Now, recent studies have shown that this is not the case at all. Dogs and cats can lower a child’s chance of becoming allergic to pets. Your children may go on to develop a stronger immune system and they can also benefit from the added responsibility of taking care of a pet. Your child can feed them, play with them and even help train your new puppy. This can work wonders for their development too, so it is important that you keep this in mind.
If you are over the age of 65 and you own a pet, then studies have shown that you will receive medical help 30% less often when compared to people who don’t have a pet. Cats, birds and other animals can help here, but dogs appear to be the most beneficial.
Dogs need to be played with and they also need socialization too. By playing with your dog, you can boost your own mood and you can also take your mind off everything that is happening right now too. Dogs have the ability to make you forget about nearly everything around you and they can also help you to focus on the better things in life too. This is ideal if you suffer from anxiety or other health conditions.
Training a dog can be a very rewarding experience. The feeling of joy you get when they finally learn a command cannot be compared and this can make you feel better about yourself. This can boost your self-esteem and it can also make you feel as though you are doing something right. Having a dog is rewarding in general, so if you feel as though there is an empty space in your life then you can really count on them to fill it for you.
Less Stress at Work
One of the best things about having a dog is that you have someone to come home to. You have someone who will always be happy to see you as soon as you walk through the door and this can really boost your mood. Studies have also shown that those who are allowed to bring their dogs to work, experience less stress as well. If the company that you work for has a relatively open policy about this then it’s worth looking into that, so you can really reap the benefits.
Lisa Lombardo says
I love my dogs and they are the reason I don’t slack off on walking! We usually get 2 miles in every day 🙂
Kristi Stone says
Oh, that’s wonderful, Lisa! I’ll bet your dogs are so grateful for that time and exercise!
Charlotte Fleet says
It is great to know that owning a dog can help to reduce your stress levels. My husband and I are both stressed quite often. We’ll have to buy a puppy to decrease our stress.
Kristi Stone says
They can be kind of stressful if they aren’t trained, so be mindful of that (which I’m sure you are). After that, they are wonderful sources of stress-relief!
Luke Smith says
I like that you talked about how spending just a few minutes with a dog could lower anxiety by a huge margin. We just bought a new pet dog and it felt fantastic. We want things to go smoothly from here on, so we should probably ask for dog training as soon as now.