9 Ways Owning A Dog Gives You Unexpected Health Benefits
If you're on the fence of being a dog-mama, this article is sure to drive to you to your nearest humane society.
1.1. Dogs Are Your Guaranteed Mood-Booster
While it's no secret that a dog can make you smile, research from the University of Missouri at Columbia has shown that a hormonal change occurs when you interact with your pup. Many researchers have proven that just a few minutes spent petting, snuggling or playing with your dog prompts an almost immediate release of "feel good" hormones in humans. Other studies have shown that petting our pups decreases levels of cortisol, the primary stress hormone. (NBC News)
2.2. Dogs Are Your Very Own Personal Trainer
We've all been there. We start numerous workout regimens and end up finding it very difficult to follow through on our commitments, ultimately ending up right back where we started. When you have a dog, this little bundle of energy is a brand new motivator to get you off your tush! Those days when you get home from work and think "I'll just run tomorrow" will be saved by your dog staring at you, wagging her tail, begging for the walk or run she's been dreaming about all day. It's harder to bail when you've got two bodies to work on! Keeping your pup healthy will practically guarantee you'll reach your daily steps goal.
3.3. They Bring Out The Social Butterfly You've Been Neglecting
It's understood that once you get your first "big-girl-job," finding time for your social self can often be daunting. Thankfully, a dog saves that! Having a dog in public means you are pretty much guaranteed to talk to someone every time you step outside. People will want to pet your dog, ask their name/breed and sometimes other strange questions that spark a unique conversation. You're sure to meet people from all walks of life who all have one thing in common: they seriously love their dog, and they're really excited that you've crossed over into dogland with them.
4.4. They Make Your Family Healthier
Exercise aside, Science Daily did studies that proved that kids who grow up with dogs in their home have fewer common allergies and higher levels of immune system supporters, keeping them in great shape as they grow. In addition, their study found that having a dog made them less likely to have the skin disorder called eczema. What we are basically saying is that, if you have a dog, your kids are going to be future olympians.
5.5. Dogs Help You Re-Evaluate Your Priorities
According to a recent study done by Harvard Medical School called "Get Healthy, Get A Dog," dogs have been known to help you be calmer, more mindful and more present in your everyday life. Having a dog brings out a newfound responsibility that will subconsciously teach you to be more responsible in other aspects of your life. Knowing that you are responsible for another life, and that this little furry pup is really depending on you, will force you to work on being more reliable, dependable and aware of your actions. A wise poet once said, "be the kind of person your dog thinks you are."
6.6. They Will Help You Detect Life-Threatening Circumstances
Unbeknownst to many, dogs can be trained to detect illnesses, disease and warning signs from a very young age. Dogs have been known to help their humans during seizures, warn them of said seizures, and also find help if said seizure takes place. Additionally, some pups are trained to detect low blood sugar levels. In 2000, the British Medical Journal published a study saying over one-third of dogs living with diabetic owners displayed behavioral changes when their owner's blood sugar levels were dropping below normal. Another disease dogs can detect? The big C. Yes, we're talking cancer. In the past two decades, there have been a multitude of patients coming forward saying their dog pointed out their cancer. Some scratched or bit at cancerous moles, some have detected forms of cancer from the owner's breath and others seemed to favor their owner's body part where the disease was present. Now, this doesn't mean that every time your dog paws you they're telling you that you have cancer... it just means they're smarter than you think!
7.7. Your Personal Siren
If anyone is living with life-threatening allergies, get yourself a pooch ASAP! With a few short classes, you can train your pup to detect if there are any allergens that will put you in harm's way nearby. This is particularly helpful for those with allergies to nuts, shellfish and other dietary restrictions. Dogs are able to sniff out the culprit to ensure the ongoing health of their owner. Pretty amazing, right?
8.8. Your Free, Furry Therapist
Have you ever seen animals visiting hospitals? This form of rehabilitation is popular worldwide for one reason: it works! It has been proven that therapy dogs encourage socialization and interpersonal contact crucial to the recovery process. Additionally, these animals encourage mobility and get patients on a faster road to recovery. In 2005, the British Medical Journal published a study saying that dogs act as a "social catalyst" and, in turn, encourage greater interaction between people which alleviates common feelings of loneliness and depression. This is particularly true for elderly patients or patients with physical disabilities.
9.9. They Add To Your Heart of Gold
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institute of Health (NIH) have both published studies relating to the cardiovascular benefits of pet ownership. The results from the studies showed that those who owned pets exhibited a lower blood pressure, lower triglyceride levels and a lower cholesterol, all of which reduce the risk of having a heart attack later in life. Patients who have already experiences cardiovascular issues are also in luck! Research indicates that recovering patients who have a dog generally have faster, easier recovery processes. The number one benefit? They reduce stress levels in the patient, helping them attain a faster recovery.
Have we convinced you yet? An important factor to point out is that these studies were only a select few of hundreds of cases that prove the health benefits of pet ownership. So... what're you waiting for? There's a dog out there who cannot wait to be your best friend. Go find him!