Healthy, Happy Humans: The Benefits of Dog Companionship

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Healthy, Happy Humans: The Benefits of Dog Companionship

Dogs provide people with unconditional love and companionship that puts most humans to shame. But are there really health benefits to having a furry friend? Yes! It is scientifically proven that dogs improve their owner's mental and physical well-being. These beautiful animals are healers and best friends, what more can one ask for? Here is what science says when it comes to the benefits of a furry family member.

 

A Healthy Heart and a Happy Life

Studies suggest that people living with dogs tend to eat better and have healthier blood sugar levels as a result. This ultimately leads to improved cardiovascular health. According to one Harvard study, people with canine companions are likely to have lower blood pressure, decreased triglyceride, and reduced cholesterol levels. This lowers the risk of heart attacks while improving recovery rates in the event of a stroke.

Harvard terms this the “pet effect”. The study further suggests that dogs have a calming effect on their owners and motivate them to seek regular exercise for a fitter lifestyle. 

#FitnessGoals are Achievable with Five Dog Walks a Day 

Dog owners are often physically active since canine friends keep them busy with fetch games and potty walks all day long. Health experts recommend at least two to three hours of exercise a week for adults - while people with dogs are more than likely to surpass this goal. 

Elderly dog owners have also been reported as being more active and mobile compared to their dog-less counterparts. A report found that older adults with dogs benefit from lower body mass index, fewer doctor visits, and fewer limitations in daily activities. 

Your furry friend might just be the answer to longevity!

Better Mental Health with Reduced Stress

Some dogs are naturally gifted as professional therapists! Yes, you read that right-- there are therapy dogs that help sufferers of PTSD or grief to cope through companionship. The nonjudgmental nature of service dogs is ideal in helping sufferers emerge from despair and loneliness. 

In fact, spending a few minutes with a dog can help lower anxiety and blood pressure. Dog-assisted therapy can also increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, two positive neurochemicals known for their soothing effects on the body. As such, dogs are known to ease tension and keep family members united regardless of the generation gap. 

Security with a Peace of Mind

Dogs are known for their unquestionable loyalty. Their dedication to the safety and care of their owners is legendary, to say the least. Hachikō, an Akita in Japan waited daily for its owner at the train station where he'd regularly alight, despite nine years of the man's passing. Talk about dedication!

The testament of canine loyalty is replayed in homes every day, as dogs bark and defend their owners from unsuspecting strangers. Many reports and studies have shown that homes with dogs are less vulnerable to theft, burglary, or break-ins than households without. 

This bestows pet parents with a greater sense of security and comfort, which reduces stress levels that are responsible for a plethora of health issues.

The Feel Good Factor: Scientifically-proven

Anyone who has ever interacted with a friend's or stranger’s dog will agree that there is something uncanny about those canines, which brings a smile to their face. And no, it is not simply a figment of the imagination. Simply locking eyes with your furry companion and gazing lovingly at its adorable face triggers the release of oxytocin-- the “feel good” hormone of your system. This relaxing and joyful sensation is 100% natural, wholesome, and all free courtesy of your pooch pal.

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  • Holly W
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