Statistics on the health benefits of owning a dog all come to the same conclusion – having a furry friend can be really advantageous.
Getting the daily dose of snuggles can boost your oxytocin levels, playing fetch can make your heart healthier, and throwing a stick can reduce cholesterol levels – these are just a few examples of all the magic dogs may bring.
To learn more about the science of having a dog, keep on reading this article.
Written by Lita Luse, a lifestyle journalist and dog enthusiast.
Currently, she is an owner of two quirky Westies and an active mongrel.
This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn a commission from qualifying purchases made through these links. This is at no extra cost to you.
They keep your heart healthy
We all know dogs can make our hearts full, but did you know they also make it healthier?
There are plenty of studies that showcase that owners of furry friends have a lower risk of death.
According to research by the American Heart Association, there is a 33% better chance of surviving a cardiac event at home after hospitalization if you are a dog owner.
The study looked at 182,000 heart attack survivors and compared whether there was any distinction between those who lived alone and those who had a four-legged friend.
Owning a dog can make you lose weight
There is no arguing too much weight is the number one enemy for health and overall well-being.
Obesity is linked to many different health issues. That is why following one’s weight is extremely important.
If you wish to drop a few pounds, consider adding a dog to your household.
Owning a furry friend means you will have to go on daily walks. Whether it is pouring rain or a tsunami, you won’t have any other choice but to go outside.
In a study that was done in 2010, scientists came to the conclusion that public housing residents lost an average of 14,4 pounds per year because they walked dogs five times a week.
What makes it even better is the fact participants didn’t see it as an exercise but their responsibility.
Having a dog is like killing two birds with one stone – you get a loyal friend and a reason to move more.
Finding friends is not easy, and it surely gets harder as you get older.
The pandemic has had its toll too.
Well, unless you are a dog owner.
According to research, 40% of people who have a furry friend tend to make friends more easily because they get to meet and talk with other dog owners as they go out for their daily walks.
The study showcased exciting results – it seems that dog owners are typically more extroverted.
Whenever somebody starts a conversation about someone’s four-legged friend, they open up and happily share compelling stories.
Socializing, of course, is essential for both body and mind. It allows to sharpen memory and cognitive skills and also increases overall happiness.
A furry friend can help with cholesterol levels
Struggling with cholesterol levels? Then a furry friend might be just what you are missing.
It seems that going for a walk with a dog or playing with them outside can be a real game-changer for cholesterol.
Scientists don’t have a clear explanation why having a dog has such great benefits, but many studies showcase the same positive results.
It might not be known yet what exactly is the science behind this, but researchers have no doubt there is nothing else to attribute to improved health.
Say goodbye to alarming stress
Thanks to the many positive effects they have, dogs are commonly used for therapy.
There are plenty of studies that again and again confirm that even spending just a few minutes with a four-legged friend can make a big difference.
Being close to a dog can lower anxiety and blood pressure while increasing levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are considered to be neurochemicals of happiness.
Scientists have found out that people perform better in stressful situations if a furry friend is somewhere nearby.
Having trouble in love life? Then a dog may be the solution.
Science explains that a four-legged friend in the house may also ease some of the tension between married couples.
Staying active is another health benefit of owning a dog
You will always hear people say – don’t get a dog unless you are ready to go on walks and stay active.
For the man’s best friend, it is crucial to engage in some sort of physical activity on a daily basis.
Whether that is playing fetch, going on long walks, or even throwing a ball, it is beneficial not only for your dog but also for your well-being.
Scientists in Canada found out those dog owners who took their furry friend out regularly had around 300 minutes of walking per week, while non-dog owners did only half of that.
Furthermore, having fun with your canine companion can improve your heart rate and also burn a few calories.
Not to mention the many benefits of being outside.
Dogs keep your mental health in check
There is nothing like having a dog.
You will always have someone waiting for you after a long day of hard work.
Plus – your furry friend will surely greet you with vocal enthusiasm, which will cheer you up even in the darkest of days.
Scientists explain that interacting with dogs boosts our oxytocin, known as the “love hormone”, levels.
The love hormone is responsible for social bonding. Therefore it is crucial for psychological well-being.
In addition, studies have showcased that dogs can reduce symptoms of depression, which is another reason why furry friends are often therapy animals.
Canine companions can prevent allergies
In the past, experts thought dogs might create allergies for children.
Thankfully, recent studies have proven that is not true. In fact, it is the opposite.
According to research, dogs and cats actually reduce the risk of children becoming allergic to pets. Little ones who have a pet in their lives may even develop a stronger immune system.
Exposure to bacteria that dogs naturally possess makes your internal flora more diverse. That is why nowadays, doctors often recommend small children to be introduced to family’s pets because it can be beneficial for their health.
Dogs – a great addition to seniors’ lives
Seniors sometimes restrain themselves from taking up a dog, but it turns out – they can benefit greatly from having a canine companion. For example, pet therapy can improve the cognitive function of people with mental illness.
Dogs may also decrease agitated behaviors in seniors with dementia.
Research has showcased that their social interactions tend to improve too.
Dog owners have reduced triglyceride (a type of blood fat) levels
Another fascinating advantage of owning a dog is having lower levels of triglycerides, a type of fat found in the blood.
Usually, these levels are affected by a person’s daily habits, including their diet, smoking, and BMI, but in a study that focused on particular individuals, none of these factors had an impact.
So although scientists still argue why owning a furry friend can make a change in triglyceride levels, there is no doubt the positive effect is seen.
Getting a furry friend is a long-term commitment that comes with responsibilities and pleasantries.
Dogs really are a man’s best friend, and they contribute to many aspects of happiness and better health.
As long as you devote time to make them happy and healthy, they will bring you much joy in return.