5 Health Benefits of Having a Dog
Owning a dog is more than just taking care of a pet, each dog becomes a member of your family. Just when you think the benefits of having your furry, four-legged friend couldn’t get any better, science proves you wrong! Aside from the wonderful, positive experiences that come along with being a dog owner, surprisingly there are also a series of health benefits of having a dog.
Dogs are Good for the Heart
According to several studies, patients who have had heart attacks, survive longer if they own a pet than those without one. Dog ownership may lower your blood pressure due to the calming effect a dog can have on you. Dogs’ soothing effect on humans also appears to assist people in handling stress. Research has shown that during times of stress, people with dogs experience less cardiovascular reactivity. Thus, their heart rate and blood pressure go up less and return to normal faster. Studies have also demonstrated that a person’s blood pressure can decrease while petting a dog using the power of touch effect. Additionally, there is evidence that points to dog ownership being associated with lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels compared to patients who did not own a dog.
Dogs Enable You to Exercise More and Lose Weight
Some additional health benefits of having a dog relate to weight loss due to exercise while taking them on walks. Dog owners who regularly walk their dogs experience lower body mass index. Research has found that daily dog walks several times a day, taking anywhere from 10 to even 30 minutes of moderate physical activity is effective in one losing weight. It can also help keep your mind focused on the responsible side in which your dog needs to be walked rather than your brain thinking of it being an exercise in which you may not always carry out. Walking your dog, in essence, forces you to get up and be active. Playing with your dog can also keep you more energetic. With a wide array of fantastic toy options on the market today, you can have loads of fun with your pet while staying healthy.
Pet Therapy Dogs Help Patients in the Hospital
One can experience the health benefits of having a dog even if they don’t own one. Many hospitals and healthcare professionals recognize the health benefits of therapy dogs to their patients. The uplifting optimism and happiness a therapy dog visit provides can make all the difference in the world to a patient. A therapy dog can help decrease pain levels in patients going for an increase in their overall satisfaction of their hospital stay. Studies have shown that the company of an animal can drastically increase positive social behaviors among children with autism.
Related: Therapy Dogs Have Many Uses
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Dogs Help with Allergies
Yes, you read that right. Usually, one would think that dog ownership could potentially increase allergic reactions. However, research has suggested that kids growing up in a home with furry animals will have less risk of allergies and asthma. Researcher James E. Gern, MD, a pediatrician at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, conducted a study in which he discovered that in homes that had pet dogs, babies were less likely to show signs of pet allergies, up to 33%. He also found that they were less liable to have eczema, a common allergic skin condition that causes itchy red patches. “Dogs are dirty animals, and this suggests that babies who have greater exposure to dirt and allergens have a stronger immune system,” he says.
Dogs Can Detect Illness
With a dog’s incredible sense of smell, they can detect diseases within a person’s body. Cancer, narcolepsy attacks, the onset of seizures, their owner experiencing fear or stress along with low blood sugar and migraines are among the health conditions that a hound’s acute sense of smell has been known to detect. Additionally, dogs can protect their owners during episodes of some of these conditions by standing over their lap when an attack starts, which prevents them from sliding out of a chair. If they are out in public, a dog can stand over its handler to protect them. Dogs can provide a warning up to 5 minutes before an attack comes on, which gives the owner an opportunity to get to a safe place or position.
5 Health Benefits of Having a Dog
Guest Author: Deborah Hurst
A QUESTION FOR YOU:
Have you personally experienced the health benefits of having a dog?
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