Dogs never fail to bring a smile to people’s faces. The sight of a dog wagging its tail can take away the exhaustion after a stressful day at work. But dogs offer more benefits than simply reducing the stress levels of their owners.
The following are some benefits one can get from owning a dog:
- Stress Reduction
Studies have shown that positive interaction with dogs can reduce stress levels. Playing with a dog, petting it, or simply looking at a dog decreases anxiety levels in humans. Spending time with dogs can also increase dopamine and serotonin levels, which help you relax. This is probably the reason dogs are effective in therapy.
Children also have a positive reaction when they see dogs. Dogs comforted young survivors of some of the most horrifying events in the United States. Dogs encouraged the children to talk about their experiences and open up about how they felt. These counselors with fur gave them an outlet to express themselves without feeling judged.
Even as dogs provide therapy for many people, this is not true for all dogs. Dogs are naturally comforting for many people, but it is important to let them go through special training to qualify as professional comforters. Aside from regular obedience training, the dogs should also have the temperament and can easily adapt to new places and things. These are important factors to consider before letting a dog work as a therapy dog.
Aside from reducing stress, dogs also encourage their owners to exercise. A study revealed that dog owners walk an average of 22 minutes per day compared to non-dog owners. And it’s not a leisurely walk, according to the study conducted by the United Kingdom.
The study showed that dog owners walked briskly up to a pace of three miles per hour. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers this as moderate-intensity walking. Moderate-intensity walking is effective in lowering the risk of high blood pressure.
Seeing your dog standing by the door is enough for you to go out for a walk. Taking your dog out for a 20-minute walk every day can help improve your health. It also allows you to have fewer doctor visits since you’ll feel as fit as an ox.
- Depression Prevention
Depression is a major problem in the world today. And the current pandemic has only aggravated the situation. But your dog can help prevent depression from setting in. The unconditional love of dogs is enough to let their owners feel happy. Dogs provide a unique companionship that cannot be matched by anyone or anything.
Dog owners also find a sense of purpose since they also have to take care of their pets. This sense of purpose also makes dog owners feel wanted. With this, they will also focus on caring for their dog rather than slip into a depressive situation.
- Improved Heart Health
Aside from providing warmth and comfort, dogs also help improve heart health. Dogs are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease since they help reduce the blood pressure of their owners. The calming effect of dogs contributes to this reduction in blood pressure.
Studies also show that dog ownership can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The diet and habits of dog owners cannot explain these lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. Moreover, dog owners also have a lower level of cardiovascular reactivity when they go through stressful situations. This means that stress doesn’t affect dog owners as much as non-dog owners.
Taking these factors into consideration, owning a dog has a positive effect on your heart. It also helps you avoid heart disease. In fact, dog owners have a 33 percent lower risk of experiencing a heart attack than non-dog owners
- Prevention of Allergies in Kids
Dogs have a positive effect on the mental and physical health of dog owners. But these benefits are not limited to adults since children can also benefit from the presence of dogs at home. Researchers believe that dogs help strengthen the immune system by increasing the diversity of bacteria in the home.
With people staying indoors most of the time, bacterial diversity inside the home is limited. And when they venture outside, they tend to develop diseases that their immune systems cannot handle. But the penchant of dogs for sticking their noses everywhere can increase this diversity and allow the body to build up immunity from diseases.
This is particularly true for children. When compared to adults, the immune system of children benefited the most from this increase in bacterial diversity. In short, the presence of dogs allows children to develop stronger immune systems to prevent allergies in the future.
Dogs are man’s best friend not only because of their loyalty but also because of the numerous benefits they give to their owners.
Meta Title: Five Ways We Can Benefit from a Dog at Home
Meta Description: These are five benefits one can get from owning a dog. Find out how a dog in the house can help your physical and mental health.