You wouldn’t think something as simple as owning a dog would have such profound health benefits, but it does. It turns out that dogs are the ultimate companion animal and confer all kinds of health benefits, both mental and physical.
Dogs are particularly popular among veterans and ex-service personnel. They provide a sense of comfort, normality and acceptance that it can be hard to find elsewhere.
Studies document the health-improving effects of dogs. Research shows that people who own dogs are less likely to have depression and high blood pressure. They are also better able to relax and are less likely to have heart attacks in the long-term. In fact, pet owners over the age of 65 make a whopping 30 percent fewer trips to the doctor.
In this post, we take a look at some of the reasons why owning a dog is so good for your health. Check them out below.
They Provide Sensory Stress Relief
Many people go through their entire lives in a profound state of tension. All the muscles in their bodies are rigid, sometimes causing pain and uncomfortable muscle knots.
Dogs, however, provide a form of sensory stress relief. Just touching or stroking your pet can lower blood pressure, reduce cortisol and return your nervous system to normal.
In many ways, pets are a surrogate for human contact. This makes them great for single people or individuals who spend a long time alone.
They Let Your Meet New People
Just walking up to somebody in the street and starting a conversation is a challenge. But when you both have dogs, it becomes much easier.
Dogs are a bridge that you can use to connect with other people and forge deeper social connections. You can think of them as a type of social lubricant, giving you something that you can talk about immediately.
Research shows that people with healthy relationships tend to function better and live longer than those who don’t.
They Provide Comfort
Anxiety is a significant health issue in today’s society. Many people go about their lives in a chronic state of worry about the future.
Dogs, though, can change this dynamic. Pets show their owners how to live for every moment, without a care about what might happen tomorrow. They prove that it is possible to have fun, no matter what might be going on in the external world.
They Increase Exercise Activity
Dogs also increase the amount of exercise that people get. Those who don’t own dogs typically walk less than half as much as those who do. Buying a dog leash and taking your pooch to the park could, therefore, be one of the best things you ever do for your health.
Research shows that people who get gentle daily exercise tend to perform best at work and live the longest. You don’t have to run ultramarathons every week. Just going out for a stroll with your pooch is often more than enough to provide your body with what it needs.
They Add Structure To Your Day
If you feel that your days lack structure (and you’re getting up super late in the mornings), then dogs can help. They tend to have great body clocks that help keep yours in sync too!
Dogs also give you opportunities to take them for walks, cuddle them and relax in the evenings. This way, you can give each day a cadence – activity in the morning, followed by rest and recovery in the afternoon and evening.
They Help You Find Meaning In Life
Finding meaning in life can be a challenge for many people. It isn’t always clear what you should live for. But, again, pets can change all this. They provide you with a focus and make you feel like you are doing something important. Pet owners often feel less depressed and anxious because they are looking after something outside of themselves.
They Help You Overcome Physical Ailments
Dogs are also great at helping you overcome physical ailments. Pets get you out of the house and encourage playfulness because of their boisterous nature. They’re also an important source of laughter, often doing funny things that make you giggle.
They Help Calm The Mind
Studies show that owning a dog helps to calm the mind, especially if you are prone to aggression. You can speak to your pet about whatever you want without worrying about them judging you. Pets build your confidence and always leave you feeling positive: the foundation of good mental health.