You probably know that having a dog can be bags of fun, and you’re sure to know that having your dog around makes you happier, but did you know that having your four-legged friend around can also help you to live a longer, happier life?
Pet ownership has been found to boost mental health, lower blood pressure and help you maintain a healthier heart and all they ask for in return is a little dry dog food, a few tasty treats and lots of walkies in return. Bargain!
Want to know more? Check out these very real ways that dogs can extend your life, and boost your happiness now:
Dogs Boost Your Fitness
If you own a dog, you’ll know just how much they love their walkies. Come rain or shine, dogs love to be outdoors exploring the many sights and sounds of the local park or beach. Naturally, you have to accompany them on these walks and that means you get more exercise as a result. In fact, one study showed that dog owners walk 300 minutes per week on average, which is significantly higher than the 168 minutes that non-dog owners walk.
Dogs Lower Your Cardiovascular Disease Risk
In 2013, a study by the American Heart Association found that having a dog reduces the risk of and increases the survival rates following a heart attack. It is thought that the higher levels of activity that dog walkers do, along with the calming, stress-reducing effects of having a furry companion bring are responsible for this effect. So, if you’re serious about having a healthy heart, you may want to think about getting a dog.
Dogs Reduce Allergies in Children
There is some evidence to suggest that dogs, and other pets, could reduce a child’s risk of developing common allergies-based diseases such as hay fever, asthma and eczema. Exposure to animals could boost their immune systems by exposing them to a wider variety of bacteria and allergens in their dander. Of course, animals and children need to be watched closely when they are together.
Dogs Can Help with Depression
Dogs are a great comfort to a great many people. That’s why dog owners tend to be less lonely, anxious and depressed than their peers. According to the British Psychological Society, dogs can boost self-esteem, increase feelings of autonomy and confidence and soothe individuals with mental health issues. They offer unconditional love and this can really help people who are struggling to feel better.
There is no denying that dogs can make life better. They are always there for you when you need them and they encourage you to be healthier than you might naturally be. They’re pretty great. However, you should only ever bring a dog into your home if you are willing and able to look after them. Dogs are not toys and they are not mere aids to your health; they are sentient beings who need a lot of love, care and attention. So, think carefully before you bring one home!