I’m sure we can all agree that dogs are amazing animals. But what are the health benefits to having a dog? Does having a dog really benefit our health? Speaking from experience I truly believe it does.
You will never have to exercise alone again if you have a dog. Actually you will never have to do anything on your own if you have a dog! They do like to be by your side at all times, no matter how inappropriate!
Walking a dog is a great way to get some exercise, especially if you are not feeling motivated to hit the gym or exercise in any other form. A 30-minute walk twice a day is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health. Even if you don’t do any other form of exercise a daily walk is beneficial to you as it goes a little way in combating a sedentary lifestyle. An excited dog waiting at the front door with its lead in its mouth or sitting at your feet staring at you with those big doe eyes can be all it takes to get off your chair and get outdoors.
There are now fit bits for dogs, how amazing is that!
Improved mental well-being
Having a dog can be a great benefit to mental well-being. Studies show dogs can help us humans reduce stress levels, reduce anxiety, and help lift our mood. Petting a dog can be a soothing and comforting experience. Most dogs are natural therapy dogs, but they can be trained to provide affection and comfort to people in a variety of environments. A visit from a dog and having the opportunity to pet a dog can do wonders for the sick and the elderly. Recently schools have begun to have therapy dogs visit too. The children have the opportunity to sit with the dog and read aloud, this has proven to enhance their self-esteem and encourage positive social behaviours.
Simple things like walking your dog is also beneficial. Being outdoors getting fresh air and natural sunlight can have a positive impact on our mental health. A dog is a great companion and can help ease loneliness and widen our social circle. Being greeted by a happy dog that is so pleased to see you is a great mood booster.
Better physical health
It is said petting your dog can reduce blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol levels. Loneliness and a sedentary lifestyle are risk factors in premature deaths, having a dog can motivate owners to get outdoors and exercise. Playing games with a dog is exercise in itself. A game of fetch is a fun activity that will benefit physically and mentally. Having a dog can also help with social interaction with others on a regular basis. It can widen your social circle and may even lead you to meet your lifelong partner.
There are ongoing studies on the effect of having a dog and our immune systems. Adults and children who share a household with a dog visit the doctor less and recover from sickness quicker. It is also said children develop fewer allergies if they live with a dog.
If you have a dog you have the best friend you ever had, a loyal and loving companion. They are great listeners and never judge. I have on many occasions poured my heart out to my dog and felt better for it. They give so much affection and comfort to people in many ways. More importantly we are their best friend, we are their everything. They love to be around us. They have an amazing knack of sensing our emotions and responding appropriately without a word being spoken.
Assistance dogs are invaluable, the care and protection they provide is truly amazing. The physical and emotional support from these dogs is truly life-changing for those that require support. It is fascinating that they can be trained to detect practically anything and have the ability to alert their owners before danger occurs. It’s also amazing they love to be of assistance, dogs love to be praised for doing their duty. They simply love to be loved.
There is a sense of security in having a dog, most dogs are great guard dogs. Their heightened senses will alert them to any would-be burglars, and burglars are less likely to target your home if they are aware of a barking dog. My dog does not fall into this category! he doesn’t bark and he would happily greet any stranger who enters my home!
Dogs provide us with unconditional love and kindness. They also provide us with lots of fun, some dogs are crazier than others, watching a dog get the zoomies is hilarious. A real laugh out loud experience to witness.
The benefits are real
As a dog lover and dog owner I only see the positive aspects of having a dog. As a family we did not have a dog for a long time due to work and other commitments as it would have been unfair on the dog. Having had our dog for 5 years now I can honestly say he has brought a variety of benefits to ourselves and our extended family, physically and emotionally. There is no love like a dogs love, feeling love can only bring positive feelings. Having positive feelings can impact on every aspect of our lives.
You don’t have to be a dog owner to feel the benefits of the love of a dog. If you cant fully commit to the responsibility of having a dog think of alternative options. Volunteer at a local shelter, most shelters welcome help from people within the local community. This is a great way to be around dogs and learning about the needs and commitment required to be a responsible dog owner. Fostering a dog is another option, looking after a dog on a short term basis while providing a great service. Even walking your neighbours dog will be beneficial in some way.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article, feel free to leave any comments on how having a dog has benefitted your health.