There’s a reason why dogs are called man’s best friend. Dogs make great companions and provide several physical and mental health benefits. The above Flat Black Lab is my dog Juniper she is a girl that’s getting old. We love her even more though.
“I am a believer in most of the health benefits that come with owning a dog, and I am impressed with the ability of pets (especially dogs) to create bonds with human beings,” says psychiatrist Dr. John Greg, director of Benson Henry Institute for Body and Mind Medicine.
But, there are several things you need to know before you decide on adding a dog to your household.
Is Owing a Dog Good for Your Health?
Dogs are, indeed, human’s best friends. A Swedish study says dog ownership can help in reducing heart disease.
A study carried out on 3.5 million people between the ages of 50 and 75 revealed that owning a dog was associated with a 25% decrease in death caused by heart disease and a 21% lower risk of deaths from any cause over the 13 years of the study.
Furthermore, health experts have suggested that dogs help in relieving depression and social isolation, which are both connected to increased risks of heart disease and premature death.
Thus, it could be said that owning a dog has several health benefits, which will be discussed below.
The Mental Health Benefits of Owning a Dog
Pets aren’t just about fun, games, and great to cuddle with. Pets are great with helping you stay healthy, and even lower your blood pressure.
Also, people with pets like dogs are diagnosed to have fewer heart attacks and strokes. Below are some of the health benefits you can derive from owning a dog:
Yes -dogs can help in reducing nervous breakdowns
It’s as simple as this: Petting a dog can quickly lower your blood pressure. Although stroking a snake can lower your blood pressure too. This from a study that was analyzed with people who own snakes.
The study stated that petting a dog helps you stay in the present, and not dwell on the future or past, which can cause nervous breakdowns.
Research and studies have also revealed that cuddling a dog can give you a chemical boost by releasing some feel-good brain chemicals like- endorphin, oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine.
Dog owners typically have lower levels of cholesterol and triglyceride. They help in boosting immunoglobulin A
Owning a dog could also help in raising your levels of immunoglobulin A. This is an antibody that is good at fighting off the common cold.
By owning a dog, you are indirectly helping to boost Immunoglobulin A in your body, thus enhancing your overall health
Your Dog Helps you Breath E
They help make breathing easy
Dogs may cause some people to sneeze, but if your children or any other people who are growing up with dogs are prone to have fewer allergies such as asthmas later on in life.
The reasoning behind this case is: when someone is exposed to dirt, pollen, and pet dander early on in life, it can give them a stronger immune system to fight these allergies.
elp you Stay Fit
Having a pet such as a dog gives you no excuses, which means you forced to go out and walk your dog on a daily stroll.
Dog owners usually are in better shape than people without a dog to walk. You could lose well over 30 pounds if you walk your dog around the neighborhood regularly.
Health Risks of Having a Dog
It is not always easy to care for dogs, and most times, having them in your home poses certain health risks for older adults.
“In case you have problems with stability and gait and your dog can get underneath your feet or can jump up and knock you down, then broken bones can be a real danger,” says Dr. Greg.
Also, there are certain sanitary risks related to dog ownership. Dogs can carry parasites that could be transferred to humans.
Dog in particular typically carries a parasite known as Toxoplasma Gondii, which could get into your brain, thus causing a condition called toxoplasmosis.
Individuals with the conceded immune system are particularly very vulnerable to this.
Dogs’ faces also carry all types of bacteria that could make you fall sick.
Dogs can also cause specific allergic reactions in pet owners.
Benefits of Having a Dog for Your Child
Dogs are one of the best pets that one can ever have. Both the young and old alike would have their share of fun having a dog for a pet.
But for kids, there are some early lessons in life that they can learn from their pet dogs. Below are a few benefits dogs could offer to your child:
Friendship and company
Stories about dogs and humans being best friends are nothing new. Your dog could be a good playmate and friend for your child.
Dogs could show your kids how wonderful it can be having friends who are always there for you.
Dogs Add a Sense of Responsibility
Pet dogs can teach children to be responsible. When your child is old enough, you can delegate the task of feeding and giving water to the dog.
These may look like small tasks; however; it is a good start for kids to learn how to take part in various household chores.
Compassion and gentleness
Most kids could be loud, heavy-handed, and overly energetic. In case dogs are not pleased with how your children are treating them, they might want to deprive the kids those play time, which they always enjoy so much.
Thus, this will make kids know that they have to be affectionate and gentle with both animals and humans if they want to build friendships.
How Do Dogs Help Your Health?
Dogs are one of the friendliest animals known to man. They are cute, cuddly, and full of fun. Dogs also can provide many health benefits to its owner.
Dogs are known to lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol lessen anxiety, and boosts immunity.
Dogs are beneficial pets for the young and the old.
One way to lower blood pressure in both the human and the dog is petting. In a recent study done at the University of Missouri showed that after a round of petting, both the human and the dog had a 10% decrease in blood pressure.
James D. Clarke, MD, a pediatrician at Wisconsin University, stated: “children growing up with furred animals like dogs at home with furred animals, whether it is a pet dog or cat, or on a farm and exposed to large animals – will have less risk of asthma and allergies.”
Infants who are raised in a family that owns a dog, have less of a chance of contracting the common household allergens.
Since dogs are often dirty, children can build up immunity to the common allergens.
These furry animals help relieve stress and provide social support. The antics and various tricks of these lovable animals cause many to laugh and smile.
Laughter has been known to relieve pain and increase immunity. People who laugh are generally less stressed, happy, and healthy.
Do Dogs Also Help Your Happiness?
If you are fortunate to have an excellent friend, spouse or family member that you can turn to both when times have been good to you or the opposite, then you know how meaningful those relationships can be.
Life can be lonely at times and very isolating. Being able to enjoy a walk with a friend or a meal with a sibling has the power to change your outlook or appreciate the blessings you have been given.
Not all individuals are fortunate enough to experience these kinds of relationships.
Most times, life could get in the way; an excessively active lifestyle, a lack of motivation, and busy schedules. These could affect your level of comfort of happiness.
Happiness can be defined as an emotional or mental state of well-being, which is characterized by pleasant or positive emotions ranging from intense joy to contentment.
So, how can your dog positively affect your happiness?
It has been known for many years that dog ownership can have a positive effect on your level of well-being and happiness.
Many studies over a considerable period, suggest that your relationship with your dog can result in a tremendous amount of joy and happiness.
The social nature of the daily walk, meeting and conversing with other dog walkers or neighbors can be very enjoyable and divert your attention from the more pressing issues in your life; thus increasing your level of happiness
In so many ways, your pet is dependent upon you. This dependency includes the daily needs of being fed and housed safely.
They also need and crave attention. By providing playtime, grooming, and a simple touch, the owner bonds with the pet.
A sense of companionship develops that can often grow into something much more. This can be a very satisfying experience and one that leaves the owner with a great sense of being needed.
All of which can contribute to happiness, especially for those who are lonely or feeling down.
Also, it was observed that some cancer patients were motivated to comply with their treatment requirements because of their desire to get home to their pets as soon as possible.