The old saying “dogs are man’s best friend” might sound like a cliché, but there is more truth to it than you may realize. Dogs aren’t just the most loyal companions you can have, but a friend that takes care of your health.
And what happens when you lead a healthier life? You automatically enjoy the benefits of having a fit mind and body. In this article, you’re going to learn how having a dog can improve your physical and mental health.
1. Dogs reduce anxiety and stress
It is no secret that dogs have always played a key role in comforting humans during times of stress. The author of 100 Simple Secrets Why Dogs Make Us Happy, Dr. David Niven, said that cuddling with your four-legged pal can reduce your stress levels nine times more than the amount of contact. This means, for every two minutes of cuddling, you gain a health benefit for up to 18 minutes.
Dogs are also ideal pets for those who have PTSD, high blood pressure and heart diseases. The act of petting your dog releases oxytocin in your brain, helping you relieve stress and anxiety. Service dogs are trained to specialize in human care and attention, if you have a condition that merits getting one, you might want to look into it. Just having a loving dog by your side helps you relax.
2. Dogs make great exercise pals
Want to go out running but just can’t find your best buddy to tag along with you? Why not take your dog instead? You know your pup won’t say no when you ask them if they want to play outside. In fact, most dogs remain in the best shape when they are exercising regularly. For you, it means a great opportunity to get your heart racing again without making excuses.
Labradors are especially fun to go running with as they’re energetic, friendly and provide plenty of affection. No wonder this breed is considered the best for families. Do some exercise with your dog; we promise that you’ll love it.
3. Dogs give you many reasons to laugh
What can be better for your mental health than frequent laughter? If you know anything about dogs, you probably know that they goof around a lot! Dogs can provide comic relief when you need it the most as they’re incredibly patient and don’t mind letting their owners use them for entertainment.
4. Dogs make you more social
If you have social anxiety or are just shy in general, you can count on your canine companion to bring you more opportunities for social interaction. It is well known that people like people who have dogs and are more than willing to strike up a conversation, even if it’s for a few seconds or minutes.
Dogs can also help you break the ice much easier without having to resort to awkward introductions or cheesy pickup lines. Social interaction is one of the factors that contribute to a better life.
5. Dogs can detect fatal diseases
Dogs have a powerful sense of smell, and it has been documented that some K9 even has the ability to detect cancer. They can use their powerful nose to smell breast and lung cancer on a person’s breath; some research even indicates that they can detect prostate cancer by getting a sniff of urine.
So, your pet pal might just be the one who saves you from the clutches of death when you are least expecting it.
6. Dogs build immunity
You may have heard experts say that children who grow up in homes having furry pets are less likely to develop common allergies. While not fully understood, it is thought that having a dog in the house helps with the development of your child’s immune system. When their bodies have gotten used to fur, other allergy-causing agents like dust, grass, etc. don’t affect them.
Need more reasons?
Believe it or not, there are more reasons to consider getting a dog that we can fit in this article. So we advise you to go right ahead and adopt one from your local shelter or rescue. Not only will you be getting a forever friend but also a guide and personal savior to accompany you through all walks of life.
About The Author:
Kevin O’Donnell is a dog enthusiast and dog rescue volunteer. As the webmaster at TheBarkBuzz.com, he helps spread valuable information and advice about dog training, nutrition, and health. He loves playing with his best friend, Buddy (a Japanese Chin/Papillon mix).