Dogs Are Good For Your Health

The Surprising Health Benefits of Owning a Dog

Dogs are cute, lovable, affectionate and fun, but did you know that dogs are also good for your health? Studies have revealed that dogs can benefit your health socially, physically, and emotionally. Dogs encourage healthier lifestyles, and adopting a dog statistically increases the life expectancy of a human by helping them to be a happier and more active individual.

Social Benefits of Owning a Dog

Dogs can help you have a more active social life. If you live alone such as an elderly or single person having a dog in the home can have the same social advantage as that of a human companion. The dog will greet you when you get home and give you love and affection the same as a family member.

Dogs are also great conversation starters and often dog owners will be more apt to stop and talk to another person with a dog than they would a stranger without a dog because you already have something in common to talk about, allowing you to meet others and socialize more.

A study published in the Journal of Pediatric Nursing shows that having a dog in the family of an Autistic child can provide the child with numerous benefits such as; nonjudgmental companionship, stress relief, unconditional love and helping the child learn responsibility and social skills.

Physical Benefits of Having a Dog

Dogs require a routine which includes being walked and played with several times a day, which means that owning a dog will help motivate you to exercise daily. A minimum of thirty minutes of exercise per day can help to reduce blood pressure, manage weight and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. Dog ownership has shown to increase the odds for survival following a heart attack or stroke.

The health benefits a dog offers is not limited to only dog owners. Dogs are engaged in therapeutic positions at hospitals, nursing homes, schools and prisons to assist in short-term stress relief. Introduced in hospital wards dogs have been proven to provide temporary distractions and comfort in patients experiencing emotional distress and pain. Companion animals used in nursing homes as part of therapy have proven to reduce the cost of patient care and prescription drugs in these facilities. Dogs can also be trained to alert patients and staff to medical issues such as an oncoming seizure, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), diabetes (high blood sugar), and even detection of cancer.

Emotional Benefits of Dog Ownership

Dogs can chase more than their tails, they can also chase the blues away for their owners. Studies have shown that dog owners experience depression less often than those who do not own a dog, and that getting a dog can help a depressed person improve their mood. Interacting with and receiving love from a dog can help people remain positive and active.

Dogs can help distract us from our worries and problems helping us to reduce stress and relax. Living alone can become lonely and a dog can help decrease loneliness and the feeling of isolation with companionship and love. You can tell your dog your deepest darkest secrets, feelings, hopes and dreams and they will always listen, keep your secret, and still love you unconditionally.

Studies have shown that the responsibility of caring for a dog provide older individuals a sense of duty and purpose that contributes to their general well-being. Studies conducted at both St. Louis University and Miami University has shown that the emotional awards dog owners receive from their companions were comparable to that of human companionship. Dog owners scored higher in areas such as self-esteem, loneliness, depression, activity levels, and illness, ruling that people with dogs experience less loneliness and higher self-esteem than those without dogs.

Dogs can be wonderful caregivers as they can offer companionship and love when you are ill and will often stay by your side throughout your illness giving comfort to you. When you live alone they can offer security and make you feel safe, and also protect the home when you are away. Often we will hear elderly state that their dog is their reason for living, because the dog gives them the feeling of being needed and appreciated.

Man’s Best Friend

Dogs have an astonishing affect on various parts of the life and health of humans. Their capability to make us feel needed, be cute and cuddly, not be judgmental, give unconditional trust and love, listen to our worries, and knack for making us laugh confirms they are man’s best friend and with all of these benefits who would not love a friend with such a big and loyal heart?

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