August 26, 2021
Four-Legged Family Members: 5 Major Benefits Of Owning A Dog
For thousands of years, dogs have provided humans companionship, entertainment, and of course, unconditional love. Any dog owner will tell you how much joy their four-legged family members bring them, but did you know dogs are scientifically proven to improve their owner’s mental and physical health?
Here are FIVE major benefits of owning a dog!
Reduced Stress And Anxiety
Petting dogs, or simply having them around, is scientifically proven to reduce levels of cortisol, a major stress hormone. A study from Washington State University collected salivary samples from 249 college students before and found that cortisol levels dropped dramatically after just ten minutes of interaction with a dog.
Interaction with dogs has also been found to lower anxiety. They help trigger the release of serotonin, the feel-good chemical and provide an owner purpose, comfort, regulation while suffering from severe anxiety. Here’s a great story about a person who overcame a long-term anxiety disorder with the help of a Corgi!
Improved Physical Health
When you get a dog you have to take make sure they get enough exercise, including walks, hikes, playtime, and trips to the dog park. They provide added motivation to lace up those running shoes and hit the pavement, meaning YOU get more exercise as a result and are most likely meeting your daily steps goal, but it goes deeper than that.
A report from Harvard Medical School showed that subjects who owned dogs had significantly lower blood pressure than those who didn’t. There is also evidence that “owning a dog is associated with lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.”
If you’re over the age of 25, you know how difficult initiating and maintaining friendships can be. Social interaction is vital to a person’s well-being, and especially after a year like 2020, it’s something that most people need more of. Dogs can be a perfect way to make new connections.
A study of 2,700 men and women from Australia and the United States, found that the three most common ways individuals met new people was by 1, being neighbors, 2, spending time in local parks, and 3, being a pet owner. That same study revealed that pet owners were “60% more likely than non-pet owners to know people in their neighborhoods they hadn’t known before.” When two dogs become friends at the local dog park, there’s a good chance the owners will become friends as well.
Resistance To Common Illnesses and Allergies
Bacteria has become a dirty word in the modern age, but not all bacteria are bad. Some bacteria are necessary to keep your immune system balanced. Dogs bring all types of bacteria into your home, and exposing your body to more diverse bacteria means it’s stronger and does better against common illnesses.
Dogs also help with general allergies! Some people can’t stop sneezing around pets, but children who grow up around dogs have a reduced risk of developing allergies. Exposure to environmental microbes from dog dander helps strengthen small children’s ability to combat general allergies. Furthermore, one study found that babies who lived with dogs were 44 percent less likely to develop ear infections, and 29% less likely to have used antibiotics!
You’ll Be Happier!
Dogs are incredibly versatile creatures who can help humans through almost any situation. They can help their owners cope with depression or loss, and provide companionship, structure, and a sense of purpose. Beyond that, having these happy-go-lucky creatures around is enough to make anyone smile, in fact, just petting a dog increases your levels of oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone”!
Dogs make our lives better. They improve our mental and physical health, make us more social, improve our immune systems, and are highly proficient at making us smile! Make sure to give your dog an extra treat or snuggle today, and let them know just how lucky you are to have them in your life!