In the crazy, busy world we live in there is a multitude of advantages of a dog. Proud puppy owners wax lyrical about their entertaining antics and unconditional love. Along with this, there are plenty more benefits of dog ownership and most notably, health benefits that our furry friends bring.
Many will claim that they didn’t need a scientist to tell them that their pooch made their life better. However, it’s great to know that more and more research is being published that proves their point. Just in case you needed more convincing.
Advantages of a dog
Let’s look at some advantages of a dog.
Reduces anxiety and stress
Contact between owners and their dogs reduces anxiety and stress. This is not only because of a reduction in the stress hormone, cortisol, it is also because the heart rate slows and blood pressure decreases. In addition, there is also an increase in hormones like oxytocin and dopamine that make us feel good and of course, calmer.
The beauty of it is that the simple, everyday interactions of patting and conversing with your canine bring these health benefits.
Dog walking increases exercise
Another study showed that owning a canine companion means increased exercise levels due to dog walking. I know that when my motivation flags or work gets in the way, I am less likely to exercise. However, I don’t think twice about going out for a walk with a dog. They’re great company and it’s amazing how quickly the step count adds up, and how much longer you walk for once you get out.
With their keen sense of smell, pooches can follow a myriad of trails and sniff out all sorts of things. Seeing more in the world around you is one of the other benefits of dog ownership. So, for an even greater connection with nature, head out on a bush walk or go to a dog-friendly beach.
Help us meet people
Dogs are sociable and connect with other dogs and people, so they help us meet people too. More than 95% of the responders in the Dogs Trust (UK) research said they felt dog owners were friendlier and more attractive. The perception was that people were more approachable with a pup by their side, and also, more trustworthy.
Have you moved to a new city? Are you trying to change up your dating game? Or perhaps just looking for new friends? The advantages of a dog are they provide a great ice breaker to open a conversation, and then allow you to connect in a relaxed fashion.
Reduce social isolation
Not only do dogs help us meet people, but they also reduce social isolation. Society has changed and families often live further apart, and both younger people and the aged may find themselves living alone. Persons with limited human social support can really benefit from dog ownership. Companion animals and their owners develop positive emotional bonds. Which in turn can reduce depression and improve overall well being.
Dog owners live longer
The American Heart Association conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies and concluded that dog owners live longer. This was associated with dog owners having decreased cardiovascular risk. In particular, due to the lowering of blood pressure levels, improvements in owners’ lipid profiles, as well as reducing the impact of stress.
There is also evidence of an association between canine ownership and better outcomes after a major cardiovascular event (heart attack or stroke). It’s nice that these not-so-obvious benefits of dog ownership also exist.
Are you sold on the advantages of a dog but worried about dog ownership practicalities? Yes, it is important to consider your personal circumstances as well as your financial ability to care for a canine companion. However, there are plenty of resources available to help you and your pet. Whether that be dog training tips, help with dog walking or dog minding, and also practical pet advice.
Wishing each and all much happiness with their dog by their side!