7 Benefits of Owning a Dog


June 22, 2018 01:34 PM

 

It’s a “tail” as old as time, “dogs are man’s best friend,” but dogs are much more than that. Not only are they great companions, but dogs can help your health in a variety of ways. Studies have shown that owning a dog can increase your fitness, lower stress, and increase happiness. Here’s a look at some of the top health benefits that come from owning a dog.

1. IMPROVE HEART HEALTH

Dogs aren’t just another friend to love, albeit they are great for that, but they help strengthen your heart. Studies have shown that owning a dog helps decrease blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels, and decrease your triglyceride (a type of fat) levels. These all play a role in your risk of a heart attack or stroke, but owning a dog can help decrease that risk. Taking it even further, dog owners who have suffered a heart attack have better survival rates than those who don’t.

2. INCREASE SOCIALIZATION

Dogs owners tend to come together as a single community; taking their dogs for walks together, getting advice, or just letting their dogs socialize in the park. It’s comes as little surprise then that while the dogs are socializing, so are their owners! Not only do dog owners socialize with other owners, but dogs are a big conversation starter with any lover of the animal. Dog owners are often stopped and asked what breed their dog is, how old they are, and if they can pet them of course. This creates an instant social connection just through your dog.

3. KEEP YOU ACTIVE

This one may be the most obvious, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Dogs need to be active, whether that’s chasing a ball around or going for a walk, they need to get moving, but they can’t do it on their own. Dogs provide a great motivation to get you off your couch and get moving. It’s recommended that adults get at least 2 and a half hours of moderate exercise a week, a goal dog owners are more likely to meet. Something as simple as a 20-30 minute walk with your dog each day adds up and can help improve overall health.

4. MAKE YOU HAPPIER

Studies have shown that owning a dog can lead to less levels of loneliness and decrease your likeliness to suffer from depression. Owning a dog may also lead to higher levels of serotonin and dopamine, which make you “feel good” and regulate your mood. This is why therapy dogs are provided to help ease depression and provide people with a sense of comfort.

5. REDUCE STRESS

Similar to increasing your happiness, the increased levels of serotonin and dopamine that come from owning a dog can provide owners with a feeling of calmness. Studies have shown that dogs can ease tension both at work and home, making them a great addition anywhere.  Just a few minutes spent with a dog can also lower anxiety and blood pressure, helping to reduce stress levels.

6. PROVIDE MEANING AND A PURPOSE

This can be especially important for anyone living alone, or those who have retired, as dogs need constant attention and care. You can’t take a break from caring for your dog, they need to be fed, walked, cuddled, socialized, etc . For those who find themselves suddenly with nothing to do or with no one around, dogs help fill that void and give you a sense of purpose. Dogs give you a reason to get out of bed and to come home at night, because you know there is someone waiting to be cared for, and who’s excited to see you.

7. LEARN RESPONSIBILITY

Owning a dog is not always easy; it comes with hard work and big responsibilities. Dogs will not always work around your schedule, and they aren’t afraid to let you know when they want something, regardless of what you are doing. That’s where responsibility comes into play. You need to take ownership and understand that a dog cannot be ignored, but needs this constant attention. If you understand this and are willing to put in the time, not only will you learn responsibility, but you will certainly be paid back in lots of love from your furry companion.