Five Healthy Benefits of Living with a Dog

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Dogs are the ultimate man’s best friend. In fact, a 2019 study done by the Animal Medicines Australia showed that almost two-thirds of fur parents are treating their dogs as extended members of their families. Not only do dogs provide affection and companionship into our lives, but they can also help you improve your mental, physical, and emotional health, as several scientific studies have shown. Here is some proof that living with dogs can actually be good for you:

1. They can help reduce stress and anxiety while improving productivity levels.

Dogs are natural stress relievers. In fact, a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that playing with dogs can trigger higher levels of oxytocin, a stress-reducing hormone, as well as serotonin and dopamine, which makes you feel calm and relaxed immediately. Dog owners are also less likely to develop depression than those who do not own a pet, according to health experts. Additionally, while most of us are working from home, having your dog nearby can actually help you boost your productivity and improve your focus, according to a 2012 study from the Virginia Commonwealth University.

2. They can help you lose weight and improve your overall physical health.

You might not be aware, but owning a dog can actually help you live longer and maintain a healthier lifestyle. Those regular afternoon walks with your dog help decrease blood pressure and keep your cholesterol and triglyceride levels in check. Additionally, a study conducted by the American Journal of Cardiology among heart attack patients revealed that those who own a dog have a higher rate of survival than those who don’t. This is because bonding with dogs can help alleviate stress, which is the main culprit for cardiovascular problems.

Moreover, some dogs can actually sniff out certain medical conditions. Several studies have shown that some dogs can detect odor signs of certain types of cancer such as colon, prostate, and breast cancer with nearly 97% accuracy. No wonder these adorable canines are also revered as lifesavers.

puppy on couch

3. Dogs provide affection, comfort, and companionship.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us are stuck at home until who-knows-when, with some of us quarantining alone. While the current health crisis is preventing us from seeing our friends and relatives, having your own furry companion at home can make you feel less lonely.

Dogs are great companions to all individuals regardless of age. They can be your source of entertainment as you quarantine at home, while your kids can play with them and keep themselves active as schools remain closed. Aside from companionship, you can also count on your dog to comfort you when you’re in distress, especially during these trying times.

A 2018 experiment published in the Learning & Behavior Journal showed that dogs will rush to their owners when they hear them crying. Turns out staying home isn’t that bad after all, as long as you have your canine friend next to you.

4. Dogs can provide added home security.

Aside from installing security systems at home, the presence of trained guard dogs adds another layer of protection against potential intruders. Dogs’ barking can deter burglars and alert residents of any disturbances or break-in attempts, according to experts. In fact, some pet owners enroll their dogs in board and training programs for such purpose. Nevertheless, dogs give us an extra sense of security and comfort knowing that our canine guards are helping to keep us safe at home.

5. Dogs can help you improve your social life.

Dogs are natural head-turners. If you’re a fur parent, you frequently find yourself get interrupted by other people in the middle of an afternoon walk just to ask you about your canine pal. Dogs are good conversation starters. They can help you interact with other people and make new friends more easily.

In fact, most fur parents have overcome shyness and social isolation, thanks to their furry friends. Not only that, but owning a dog can also make you more attractive and approachable to the opposite sex, according to a 2012 study conducted by Dog Trust in the UK. Who knows, you might land a date after that afternoon walk.

The bottom line is that dogs never fail to bring joy into our lives, especially during these trying times. It may seem like we are the ones taking care of them, but it’s actually a two-way street. Dogs take good care of us as well, and there’s scientific proof behind that.

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