Though we always knew it in our hearts, recent studies have shown that owning a dog – and just being around one – can be great for your health! Read on to discover all of the incredible health benefits that can come with owning a pet. Read on to discover all of the incredible health benefits that can come with owning a pet.
1. Dogs improve our mood and reduce stress
For many of us, it is clear that being around dogs, especially our own, makes us happy and can instantly improve our mood. It has been proven that just looking into a dog’s eye can increase serotonin levels, the happy chemical in both a human and dogs! Interaction between human and dog also been proven to decrease cortisol, the stress chemical.
2. Dog owners are more fit
People with dogs tend to be more physically active and less obese than people who don’t. Dogs need and enjoy exercise, which is great for those who need some encouragement getting some exercise in. Walking, running, hiking, playing fetch, and even dogs are all ways dogs love to get their exercise – which means dog lovers can be encouraged to stay active every day.
3. Dogs keep blood pressure in check
The simple act of petting an animal-or even gazing at an aquarium-results in a drop in blood pressure. And pets can have a longer-term impact on the cardiovascular system, too, as researchers discovered when they tracked 24 hypertensive stockbrokers who adopted a cat or dog. Pet ownership blunted the blood pressure response to mental stress; the traditionally prescribed hypertension drug did not.
4. Dogs reduce risk of allergies, asthma, and eczema
People with allergies produce antibodies – which can cause inflammation in the airways (asthma) or the skin (eczema) – in response to irritants like dander and saliva. But exposure to a pet during infancy may mean less chance of developing such reactions in adulthood – possibly, scientists speculate, because the immune system becomes desensitized to allergens. What’s more impressive is that this immune-stabilizing effect appears to begin before birth. A 2008 study showed that prenatal pet exposure lowers allergic antibody production in the umbilical cord.
5. Dogs make us less lonely!
The elderly, sick, singles living on their own, and even homesick travelers can benefit from having a dog as a companion. Dogs get them out of the house, make a good conversation starter, and promote their capacity to build relationships.
It’s nice to reflect on how dogs are so good for our health and to feel deep gratitude for their presence in our lives.