How Dogs Drastically Improve Your Health
Written by: Brandi Monasco
It’s true – dogs are man’s best friend.
Having a dog is more than just having a best friend or a companion; there are actual health benefits linked to having a dog (or two).
Dogs are extremely loyal, sensitive and loving. They are always around for you when you need some cheering up. They can “sense” that you are having a rough day and that you need some company. They know when you need them to curl up and cuddle with you.
If you already have a four-legged fur baby, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. If not, these are why dogs can benefit you and your life so profoundly:
- Having a dog helps you feel less stressed. Simply petting your dog or watching him run around and play can reduce your stress. The chemical called oxytocin is produced by your brain that reduces stress and fights depression. Just spending time with your furry loved one increases the oxytocin flowing in your body. A study found that couples who own a pet have less stress than couples that don’t own a pet.
- Having a dog means you will exercise more. Your furry creature needs to be walked quite frequently. On top of walking, they love to play ball and run. So just taking your dog for a walk around the park or playing fetch means that you will be moving around more than you would be if you didn’t have a dog. “The Journal of Physical Activity and Health (2010) concluded that dog walkers generally walked about an hour longer than their non-dog walking counterparts!”
- Having a dog boosts your mood. How can you be mad or upset when you come home and see that furry slobbery face? Research shows that spending as little as 15 to 30 minutes with your dog can calm your mood and help you become relaxed. They have even said that it’s comparable to eating chocolate! “Preliminary results from a study show that a few minutes of stroking our pet dog prompts a release of a number of ‘feel good’ hormones in humans, including serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin.”
- Having a dog improves your social life. For you single people, your dog might actually help you get a date! Having a dog promotes interaction with others, meaning that people are more prone to stop and talk to you when you are with your dog.
- Your heart will be healthier. Everything about having a dog can lead you to better heart health. Being able to be more relaxed and less stressed means that you have a lower heart rate and better blood pressure. Owning a dog also increases the odds of surviving a heart attack.
- Having a dog can reduce how often you visit the doctor. Owning a dog gives you the benefits of lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Dogs also tend to expose their owners to different types of germs, which helps increase your immunity.
- Having a dog helps with your mental and emotional well-being and lowers depression. Caring for a dog helps to relieve symptoms of depression and puts you in an overall better mood.
Many people have dogs for companionship, but the ownership of a dog is much more than just friendship; they are probably the most loyal beings on the planet with their understanding and unconditional love. If this isn’t enough of a reason to find one of these beautiful souls, I don’t what is.
Do you have a furry friend? We would love to hear about him/her! Feel free to share with us in the comments below (you can even leave a picture if you want)!
Brandi Monasco is a freelance writer, graphic designer and social media manager from Texas. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts and has recently found a new love for health and nutrition.
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