5 Ways Owning a Dog Can Benefit Your Health and Well-Being

happy dogs in the parkOwning a dog is a lot of work sometimes, but the joy they bring into our lives is always worth it in the end. The truth is that our companions bring more to the table than just being cute, however, there are a ton of ways in which just having a dog can improve your health. Ready to find out what they are?

1. More Active Overall

People with dogs tend to be more active. Whether it’s playing with your dog or just going for a long walk, you’ll quickly find that having a dog means more than you think.

Many people even train their dogs for more than just a walk. A dog can be a great jogging companion or hiking buddy. They’ve definitely got the speed and endurance for it.

Even less active breeds of dog will help you stay healthy. Movement is great and your body will respond over time, even just playing with your dog is often a heavily physical affair.

And, as we all know, staying active is one of the key things that are involved in your health. So get ready for your walks, and remember that they benefit you as much as they do your canine companion.

2. People with Pets Suffer From Less Stress

Those who have pets seem to have lower stress levels.

The reasons appear to be myriad, but the most common theory is simply that having a pet there gives a person a bit of oxytocin. This chemical is released during physical touch and encourages bonding behavior.

Humans are unique, we can bond with just about anything. Dogs even more than many. The truth is that dogs always end up being just part of the family.

Less stress means a healthier life. Lower blood pressure and cholesterol markers have been found in dog owners as well. Healthier heart, less stress… dogs do a lot more for us than it seems on the surface.

3. Constant, Devoted Companionship

Our dogs are constant, devoted companions. While that may not seem like much when it comes to health, you can see from the item above that it actually quantitatively improves our health.

But the mental health benefits of having a constant companion can’t be ignored.

Dogs can give one a sense of purpose. You’re responsible for them and that means feeding, walking, and generally caring for them will become a priority. For that reason alone, many people with depression find them invaluable.

Their constant social interactions with us are also great for those who suffer from anxiety. It’s hard to worry too much when you have a dog laying in your lap after all. Dogs also get us outside more, which brings many health benefits.

The truth is that our dogs provide us with a mental outlet.

4. Improved Social Life

Improved mental and physical health is great, but we’re social animals and need interactions with the world around us. Dogs often provide that in a number of ways.

First off, you have classes where you can meet people. A responsible dog owner will want to make sure that their dog is well-trained and able to stand up to the rigors of daily tasks. Further training is often used for dogs that have a specific purpose aside from companionship.

Of course, walking your dog often provides interactions with strangers as well. Even just a nice “hello” can help out with your day. Add in dog parks and you’ll see that dogs provide an amazing array of social opportunities.

And these just aren’t there for those who don’t have a dog.

Add in the common interest you share with these people and you’ll find that your social life improves just by having and caring for a dog.

Social health is linked intrinsically to our bodies and minds. Every little bit of help counts in the end.

5. Keeping up Immune Systems

Dogs are dirty.

No, let’s rephrase that: dogs bring in many allergens which you wouldn’t otherwise encounter. While it’s a bit of a problem for people with allergies, it turns out that minor exposure to pathogens can actually help children build up their immune system.

It also helps to prevent asthma. The exact mechanism is unclear, but what’s known is that minor exposure to pollens and other allergens can help to build a great immune system. Turns out there’s some benefits to skipping the bath.

Not that you should always do so, but hey… if your dog doesn’t like a bath then you can always try a waterless shampoo to get rid of the build-up.

Think of it as light training for your immune system and you’re on the right track.

Get a Dog!

Our dogs are one of the best things that can happen to our health. Health is comprised of many factors, but dogs hit all of the key points to help lead us to a healthier lifestyle. Physical activity, constant companionship, and even a bit of dirt. It’s always great to find another reason to love your dog!

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