There’s a reason dogs have been used as canine assistants and therapy dogs for so long. Actually, there are a bunch of reasons! Service dogs can be trained to assist people with vision or hearing impairment, people with seizure disorders, people with PTSD, and even diabetes. Therapy dogs often bring comfort to people in hospitals and nursing homes.
Did you know having a dog as a pet has big health benefits, too?
It’s true! Your fur buddy is good for you!
How having a dog can help your health:
1- Dog owners are more likely to get their recommended amount of moderate exercise per week. (Currently this recommendation is a total of 150 minutes each week, or 30 minutes 5 days/week.)
2- People who have a canine buddy tend to have lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol, and decreased triglyceride levels. These factors contribute to better overall cardiovascular health and fewer heart attacks — and dog owners who do have heart attacks have better survival rates following the events than those without a fur-kid.
3- Dogs are natural conversation starters. Dog owners often enjoy socializing with other dog owners while they walk. This is an extra-awesome benefit for those who are retired or work from home.
4- Just a few minutes with a pet reduces stress and increases happy neurochemicals in the brain. This is so powerful that some fire departments have even started having comfort dogs to boost moral.
5- Although it’s not recommended for allergy sufferers to have a pet sleep in their bedroom, studies show having pets in the home decreases kids’ chances of developing allergies.
6- Homes with (barking) dogs are less likely to be burglarized! Fido doesn’t have to be big for this benefit; even little dogs discourage robbers because the barking attracts attention burglars don’t want.
7- Studies have shown that physical touch is important to our emotional health. (This is why hugs are good for you!) Dogs are usually more than happy to snuggle up or get a little doggie massage, which is good for them and for you!
I’m partial to dogs and currently have two — but cats offer many of the same benefits, especially when it comes to companionship. Pet ownership isn’t something to take lightly, but if you’ve ever considered it, maybe this is the right time to bring home a new friend. Even better: adopt a rescued pet and know you’ve done good for your new pet AND for yourself!