Most dog owners will automatically agree there are benefits of owning a dog. Some may not be too sure of exactly what the benefits are, however. They are likely to instinctively feel that owning a dog just has to be good for you. In that they are right.
Caring for a dog can be a full-time job. But the kind of people who want to keep a dog usually enjoy looking after their pet. It doesn’t really seem like work.
Dogs can give a lot back too. When a dog decides to love you, she does so with all she has. Cats can be standoffish at times. Dogs throw themselves into everything with pure joy.
Most dog owners will know there are health benefits to owning a dog, but they may not be able to pinpoint the benefits so easily. Here then are 10 definite health benefits of owning a dog, and some of them might surprise you!
1 – Your dog provides you with healthy exercise
You will exercise on a regular basis if you own a dog. That’s a given! While your dog needs regular exercise herself, she will also have daily toilet needs, and a morning and evening walk, at the very least, is needed to provide your pet with the opportunity.
You should never think of walking your dog as a chore. Consider it an opportunity to bond better with your pet. You may take the same route every day, but your dog will always find something new to discover or sniff at.
Admittedly, walking your dog isn’t particularly pleasant on a cold, windy, rainy day, but there will be plenty of warm, sunny days too. A disciplined routine like walking your dog provides excellent exercise, and it’s easy to walk at least two miles a day at least.
The recommended minimum exercise duration by health experts is two hours and thirty minutes a week. With a dog, you will easily do that and most likely much more.
Your dog is more valuable than a subscription to your local gym – she will keep you fit and active, in good weather and bad, and your doctor will be delighted too!
2 – Your dog helps you lose weight
Forget the latest diets with all their fancy names. Owning a dog and taking her for regular walks at least once a day is all you need to help you lose weight.
A study in the journal Gerontologist found that the age group who benefited most from walking a dog was older people, especially those in their 70s and 80s. They experienced “lower body mass index, fewer activities of daily living limitations, fewer doctor visits, and more frequent moderate and vigorous exercise.”
In other words, they lost weight – and lived better, saw their doctors less often and were generally healthier in every way. And all they did was walk their dogs.
The best part about losing weight while walking your dog is that you will most likely consider it a responsibility to your dog, and not anything connected with losing weight. Most people groan at the thought of having to lose weight, but when the focus is on your dog and her needs, it becomes fun.
3 – Your dog helps to reduce stress in your life
Taking your dog out for a walk on a daily basis is usually an enjoyable activity. And when you are enjoying life your stress levels drop. Your dog just wants to have fun, most of the time, and throwing her the occasional stick to fetch back helps you unwind too.
Therapy dogs are extremely effective, and there are good reasons why. Time spent with your dog will quickly lower your blood pressure and anxiety levels. Your brain will also experience increased levels of serotonin and dopamine, two chemicals that make you feel good and have a calming effect, among other things.
Studies have shown that when there’s a dog around, tensions between married couples can be eased. There are fewer divorces when a dog shares the home.
4 – Your dog provides meaning and purpose in your life
This is especially true for older people. Elderly people often live alone and are often lonely as a result. Owning a dog provide essential meaning and purpose in life. The dog depends on the older person for food and exercise.
Waking up every morning and wondering what you will do with yourself all day can quickly lead to depression. We all need a purpose in life, something meaningful that gives us a reason to go on. Your dog can provide that – and provide essential companionship too.
5 – Your dog helps to keep depression at bay
Anyone who has suffered from depression knows how awful it can be. It isn’t just a case of feeling sad. It goes so much deeper than that. People with depression often can’t find a reason to carry on. Life loses all meaning, and there is never any light at the end of the tunnel.
The companionship of a dog can help to alleviate depression. There a reason to believe that the benefits of owning a dog include being less prone to depression than would otherwise be the case.
The reasons are most likely tied in with your dog providing meaning and purpose in your life. The reduction of stress and the health benefits of regular exercise no doubt play an important part too.
6 – Your dog helps to reduce your visits to the doctor
No one visits the doctor for fun. We only go when we have a health problem, so anything natural that can reduce the necessary visits to your doctor has to be a good thing.
It’s the over 65s who are likely to benefit the most from owning a dog. A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that over 65s who owned a dog were less likely to visit their doctor than those who did not own a dog.
Owning other kinds of pets, a cat, a caged bird, or other animal species, certainly had its benefits, but owning a dog was by far, according to the study, the best way to avoid necessary doctor visits.
7 – Your dog helps to fight disease and debilitating conditions
People suffering from Alzheimer’s can often be aggressive with occasional emotional flare-ups. This can make looking after Alzheimer’s patients very difficult for the carer. A dog helps to calm someone with Alzheimer’s, reducing their aggression and limiting emotional flare-ups.
Dogs have also been shown to benefit those on the autistic scale. Children especially who have autism can be withdrawn and insular. Having a dog around often draws them out of their shell. making them more receptive to interaction with others.
8 – Your dog helps to prevent allergies in children
It was once believed that having a dog around children could cause them to develop all kinds of nasty allergies. Recent research now tells us that the opposite is the case. Dogs can reduce by up to 33% a child’s chances of developing allergies to pets.
There’s a possible beneficial side effect too. Children may develop stronger immune systems as a result of being around pets, and dogs are included in that category.
Yes, it’s true. Your dog could be the reason why your social life is doing so well. It all goes back to walking the dog… People, especially older people, out walking their dog, are more likely to strike up a conversation with another dog owner, even a complete stranger.
It probably has to do with a shared reason for being out – the dogs – than anything else. But it seems that real friendships are built as a result in many cases. A study has shown that an impressive 40% of dog owners find it easier to make friends when they have their dog in tow.
10 – Your dog helps to improve the health of your heart
Heart disease is still the number one killer in most western countries, so anything that can improve your heart health is worth considering. We know that large puppy eyes can fill your heart, but it goes further than that. Those puppy eyes can actually strengthen your heart, potentially prolonging your life.
Having a dog around reduces cholesterol levels and decreases triglyceride levels, which will likely result in a greatly reduced risk of heart attack. That, coupled with a reduction in blood pressure, makes an excellent case for being a dog owner.
Yes, there really are definite health benefits of owning a dog, but maybe you already knew that! This article has focused on the health benefits you, the dog owner, receives. Does your dog get any benefits as well? Yes, undoubtedly, but you can boost that by giving your pet a routine of CBD oil, which will provide remarkable benefits. Try it and see for yourself! This article will give you more information.