Dogs offer more than just companionship. If you’ve got a furry friend already, you likely have quite a few reasons to thank your dog. If you’re considering getting a pooch, check out these surprising benefits of having a dog.
1. RESISTANCE TO ALLERGIES!
While dogs can be one of the worst triggers for people with allergies, growing up in a house with a dog makes children less likely to develop allergies over the course of their lives. Even if you were just a fetus when your mother lived with a dog, you are still less likely to be bothered by animal hair and dander, or to develop eczema as an adult.
2. You’ll exercise more.
Owning a dog can motivate you to exercise every day. On those days when it might be easy to skip a workout, looking at your dog standing by the door waiting to go for a walk can give you the push you need to get out there. Taking your dog for a 30 minute walk every day can greatly improve your health.
3. Dogs Boost Your Mood
Dogs have long been known to make great companions, but did you know that they actually improve your mood? Research has shown that it only takes a mere 15–30 minutes with your pet to feel more relaxed and calm. Playing with your dog also raises your brain’s levels of dopamine and serotonin, which are neurotransmitters that are associated with pleasure and tranquility. Psychologists from Miami and St. Louis Universities found that the benefits of having a canine companion can be equivalent to having a human companion. Looks like pooches can get your tail wagging!
4. Your social life may improve.
Not only does walking your dog help you to get exercise, it might also help you get a date. People are more likely to stop and talk with you when you’re walking a dog. Going to the dog park or taking your dogs to run errands can also lead to strangers striking up conversations with you about your dog.
5. Dogs Are Better Than Medicine
In addition to boosting your mood, your dog is also great for your health. Your body reaps a lot of benefits from having your fur baby around. Dog owners have been found to have lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, fewer heart attacks, and according to a study by the British Journal of Health (2004), dog owners also have the added benefit of having fewer medical problems than those without pets.
6. CANCER DETECTION!
Your dog could save your life one day. It seems that our canine friends have the ability to smell cancer in the human body. Stories abound of owners whose dogs kept sniffing or licking a mole or lump on their body so they got it checked out, discovering it was cancerous. The anecdotal evidence was later backed up by scientific studies. Dogs are so good at this that some of them are trained to detect cancer, in as little as three hours.
7. You can grow old gracefully.
Dog ownership benefits elderly people in many ways. Alzheimer’s patients have fewer outbursts when there is a dog in the home. Caregivers of elderly patients report less stress. Dogs offer wonderful companionship for the elderly as well.
8. Dogs Can Help Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis
Clearly, dogs are extremely helpful in helping people deal with medical issues. Dogs have been found to be beneficial to people with various medical issues, but especially with those diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Dogs help people with RA to move more often and encourage play as well as helping them get their mind off of their condition. Dogs are great motivators to get moving and they sure are good at distracting us from things!
9. You’ll feel safer.
Dogs can be an effective home security system. Studies show that barking dogs deter burglars. Just knowing that you’ve got a dog who can use its keen sense of hearing to detect anyone prowling around can help increase your sense of security, which is good for both your mental and physical health.
10. BE HAPPIER!
Dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression than non-pet owners. Even for those people who do become clinically depressed, having a pet to take care of can help them out of a depressive episode, in some cases more effectively even than medication. Since taking care of a dog requires a routine and forces you to stay at least a little active, it is harder to stay inside feeling down all the time. The interaction with and love received from a dog can also help people stay positive. Even the mere act of looking at your pet increases the amount of Oxytocin, the “feel good” chemical, in the brain.