Have you ever come home from a bad day at work and found your mood lifted when you saw your dog? If so, there’s a reason why. Dogs are therapeutic and science is proving that owning a pet can improve an owner’s health and wellbeing. If you are unsure of how or why, keep reading to see the six health benefits of owning a dog.
Dogs Ease The Mind
Do you suffer from depression or anxiety? Playing with a dog elevates serotonin and dopamine, and these chemicals help the body feel good and relaxed. This is especially important for people who use medications or drugs to help them cope with depression or life problems.
Dogs are Good for the Heart
Not only is spreading some TLC healthy, but studies show that dogs can reduce blood pressure. One study examined stockbrokers who adopted a dog or a cat and found that these people had a lower blood pressure during stressful situations compared to those who did not own a pet. Another study published in the American Journal of Cardiolowgy found that male dog owners were less likely to die within one year of a heart attack compared to those who did not own a dog.
Dogs Are Good for the Aging
Studies continue to show that dogs are beneficial for Alzheimer’s patients. Those with a pet are less likely to experience anxious outbursts. Dogs also help elderly people cope with loneliness, and are a good companion so the mind does not fixate on being alone. Plus, dogs keep elderly people active, which benefits their mind and body.
Dogs Keep Owners Active
Exercise studies show that the more you move throughout the day, the healthier you can be mentally and physically. Even a short walk will expend extra calories, boost the mood and provide bonding time. Whether you want to jog, hike or walk, everyone benefits from the physical activity. Researchers at the University of Victoria found dog owners walked an average of 300 minutes per week compared to non-dog owners who walked an average of 168 minutes per week.
Dogs can Detect Low Blood Sugar
Those who have diabetes or suffer from low blood sugar can benefit from owning a trained dog. The British Medical Journal found that over one-third of dogs living with a diabetic owner could detect low blood sugar even if symptoms were not noticeable.
Dogs Can Rehabilitate
Today, many hospitals allow pet visitation programs in rehabilitation centers. Trained therapy dogs can act as a social catalyst, alleviating issues such as loneliness and worry, and they help one overcome physical disabilities. With prolonged hospitalization, dogs can help with activities of daily living to get patients back on their feet and reduce human dependency.