Dogs are more than companions—they also help keep us physically and mentally fit. Here are a few health benefits of owning a dog.
The health benefits of owning a dog
Pet parents are already aware of the good owning a four-legged companion does for their mental health, but caring for a dog is scientifically proven to improve physical health, too. From more frequent movement to preventing childhood allergies, here are a few benefits of owning a four-legged pal:
1. Animals keep you active: Most health experts agree people should get roughly 30 minutes of exercise daily and dog owners are statistically more likely to hit that target. Walking our dogs may not feel like a workout, but it helps keep us active even into our senior years. This has a host of health benefits, from maintaining a lower body mass index to improved heart health. Research has even shown that owning a pet lowers blood pressure and risk of heart attacks.
2. Pets can actually lower stress: In addition to the stress-relieving benefits of daily exercise, owning a pet can help decrease anxiety in other ways. Studies have shown that spending time with your canine companion can increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, two “feel good” neurochemicals that improve feelings of wellbeing. Animal-assisted therapy is even recognized as a treatment for depression, thanks to dogs’ ability to help us feel less isolated and stay active.
3. Dogs can improve your social life: Pet owners may not realize it, but taking Fido for a walk every day can actually improve their social lives. Research has shown that dog owners make friends more easily, likely due to improved chances to make small talk when they are out with their companions. Studies have also shown that people are more likely to perceive photos of people with dogs as happier than their pet-less peers. Dogs are, aftercall, an endless fount of conversation topics for their loving owners.
4. Growing up with dogs can prevent allergies: Experts once believed having a pet in the home increased the chances of children developing allergies, but studies have since shown that growing up with a four-legged family member actually lowers children’s chances of developing a pet-related allergy. With so many benefits to offer, it is no wonder we become so attached to our canine companions. Rather than seeing his daily walks as a burden, this should help you find the bright side to maintaining a daily routine that benefits both you and your companion for years to come.