People have kept dogs as pets for centuries, and the ways in which they have helped mankind throughout that time are nearly unlimited. Anyone who has owned a dog at any point in his or her life knows that their loyalty and companionship cannot be rivaled with, but there are also some real ways in which dogs can positively impact the health of their owners. As if you needed more reason to love and cherish your dog, here are a few ways in which dog ownership can lead to a longer, healthier life.
Health experts recommend that the average adult get around two and a half hours of moderate exercise per week, but most fall short of this goal. If you are a personal trainer or professional athlete, you may not need much incentive to exercise and be active. But for the rest of us, staying in shape can be a difficult task, and we need all the incentive and help we can get to do so. Enter, man’s best friend with his seemingly unlimited energy and enthusiasm for physical activity.
Whereas the average non-dog owner will usually fall short of exercise minimums, dog people generally exceed them. In addition to the regular walks which are mandatory, dogs naturally inspire people to want to go outside and play. This helps humans to be more active, which further leads to a number of health benefits as well as longer lifespan.
Every dog owner knows that the companionship and love of their canine friend can fill your heart in a metaphorical sense, but research has also shown that dogs can actually make their owner’s heart stronger and healthier in a more literal sense.
Studies have consistently shown that dog ownership can be linked to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels which are directly related to cardiovascular health. Additionally, those who have suffered heart attacks have recovered more quickly and efficiently if they owned a dog.
Improved Mental Health
Dogs seems to naturally exude a kind of joy that is contagious for their owners. Even if you are having a bad day or in a foul mood, your dog always knows just how to make you smile when you need it most. But in addition to helping alleviate normal sadness or bad moods, owning a dog can lead to more significant mental health benefits.
For a number of reasons (including the physical health benefits mentioned above) dog owners are generally seen to be less prone to depression, and research has shown that dogs can alleviate symptoms from those who suffer from it. Owning a dog also leads to reduced stress and anxiety, and this can be invaluable for most modern Americans.
Better Social Life
While dogs can be wonderful friends themselves, they can also help their owners make new friends. Studies have shown that four out of five dog owners speak with other dog owners during walks, and about 40 percent make new friends more easily. Dogs seem to naturally make their owners more extroverted and outgoing, and they always provide an immediate ice-breaker.
While no one is saying that one type of pet is better than another, it is easy to understand the benefits of an animal that does not require a litter box or feliway diffuser to live in your house. But while general pet ownership has shown to lead to more happiness and improved health, dog owners can specifically benefit from an incentive to exercise, improved heart health and a better social life.