Dogs are incredibly good for your health. There’s no getting around it. As if the scientific studies around the topic weren’t enough, the experience of dog owners speaks volumes about the benefits of dog ownership! Parenting a pup is both challenging and rewarding. Whether you’re looking into owning your first dog, or searching for an article to share with your cat-loving friends, here are just a few of the many ways dogs are good for your health.
1. Boosting Mood
Face it. Even the hardest macho-man can’t help but smile at an adorable puppy. From a hilarious dog video online, to the warm welcome of a dog when you come home from work, a dog can always boost your mood.
It’s not just about a temporary feeling either. Happy people are healthier. According to ScienceDaily.com, “Happiness and other positive emotions play an even more important role in health than previously thought, according to a study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine by Carnegie Mellon University Psychology Professor Sheldon Cohen.”
Research shows that when humans interact with dogs, it typically leads to the release of hormones like serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin. Those are all “feel good” hormones that are particularly helpful to those suffering from depression and other stress-related disorders.
2. Building a Child’s Immunity
The next time your kids beg for a new puppy, hear them out. WebMD suggests children, particularly babies, in the homes of dog owners are less likely to develop asthma, allergies, and even the common cold. While the exact cause isn’t clear, most evidence suggests that young children around dogs are exposed to microbes and dander that prime and prepare their developing immune systems to fight off common allergens and bugs.
3. Relieving Stress
Dogs are good for your health because they have been proven to reduce stress. Interacting with dogs doesn’t just promote the production of good hormones (mentioned in point #1), it also decreases the production of cortisol, AKA stress hormones! Also according to WebMD, dog owners have lower blood pressure.
4. Keeping You Active
Dog owners are more likely to be active. If you love exercising, dogs are the perfect exercise companion. If you hate exercising, dogs create fun, easy opportunities to get active. Activities like going on walks, visiting the dog park, and playing fetch will benefit the health of both you and your dog. According to Psychology Today, dog walking can significantly benefit not just you, but the entire family.
5. Keeping You Social
Dogs benefit your health by promoting a social lifestyle, which will ultimately lead to higher activity levels and lower stress. Studies show that there’s a strong correlation between social interaction and well-being. From dog small talk on the walking trail, to countless groups and clubs of dog owners both online and in person, the dog owning community is gigantic.
6. Providing Therapeutic Companionship
Dogs reciprocate love in the most amazing ways. Caring for dogs has been proven to reduce the symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, autism, bipolar disorder, PTSD, alzheimer’s, dementia, and more! And take our word for it: dog ownership is way more enjoyable than taking medicine. There’s mounds of research to back up the healing power of pooches.
There’s no denying it: dogs are incredibly good for your health. Science and the experiences of millions of dog owners prove it. The process of raising and training a dog is incredible, providing a dynamic series of engaging challenges. What are you waiting for? If you’re on the fence about dog ownership, be sure to factor in these health benefits. Your body and mind will thank you.