Can Dogs Help Improve Health?

by Robert Carver
woman hugging playful pug dog

The answer to that question is yes. Dogs are great at helping us humans out, and they really don’t have to be. Let’s be honest, when was the last time you saw and dog and didn’t’ instantly get happy? Exactly. I knew I was right. Never.

Hanging out with a four-legged friend relieves stress and anxiety, gets rid of depression, and helps promote a healthy heart. But that’s not all it does. Let’s get into the nitty gritty details of how dogs can help improve our health. You’ll be on your way to buying a new pup if you don’t already have one waiting for you at home,

Here we go!

Dogs improve heart health.

As previously stated, dogs improve heart health. How do they do such a thing? Well, they make your heart stronger, believe it or not. Having a four-legged friend in your daily life can lower blood pressure, can reduce cholesterol levels, and can assure the body has less risk of heart attacks. And, those who have had heart surgery tend to recover faster and live longer with a dog by their side.

Dogs keep you going.

man walking after Pit Bull dog running in parkDogs make it their mission to keep you active (mainly because they want to stay active, too). The recommended dose of exercise us humans should get per week is at least 2.5 hours. Dog owners exceed that average tenfold. Why is this? Because people are always taking their dogs for walks, or taking them outside to use the bathroom; In turn, this assures extra exercise for dog owners.

Even still, as we get older, having a dog can be even more beneficial. Those who are in their 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s that own dogs can ample exercise, probably even more weekly exercise than that of their friends and family. Plus, if you have a dog in your later years in life, your less likely to have limitations as you age. Making it a point to take your dog for daily walks will keep those legs moving, and keep your energy levels a tad higher than other people your age.

Dogs knock off a few pounds.

Dogs actually help you lose weight, specifically with the exercise and daily activities performed while owning a dog. Think about it. If you go for one daily walk with your dog around the block, you’ll burn extra calories and wind up healthier than before. No matter if the walk is 10, 20, or 30 minutes (depending on the size of your block or neighborhood), you’ll still knock off a few pounds. On average, those who walk their dogs once a day each week tend to lose approximately 15 pounds.

And, to add on, walking your dog each day is something you want to do, because you love them so much. Whereas, people don’t feel this type of love towards exercising. It’s just like how the ‘two birds with one stone’ saying goes; The love for your dog will make you feel obligated to walk him/her each day, and at the same time you’ll get your exercises in without even thinking you’re exercising (we know that can be a turn off to some people).

Dogs get you talking.

Dogs impact your social life in such a beneficial way. People who own dogs are more likely to have discussions with other dog owners.

For example, if you look at it this way, as we age, we become less social. But, if we have a dog to accompany us, conversations with other dog owners will come easily. Questions like: What kind of dog do you have? Is it a male or a female? How old is he/she? And then, the conversation will carry on after that. Stories will even be brought up about experiences with their dogs.

Not only that, but dogs are a friend magnet. I know this may seem as if people are using you for your dog, but that’s not the case. It’s just that dogs make their owners friendlier, more social, and more apt to make friends. Because of this, dog owners tend to be more outgoing.

Dogs eliminate stress.

Hanging out with your dog eliminates stress and anxiety. They also elevate serotonin and dopamine production, resulting in our moods being more stabile, and our wellbeing being calmer. Even still, dogs are able to ease tension between work stress situations and between arguments among married couples.

Dogs make us feel needed.

man affectionate to labrador dog outdoorsAs we age and retire, we don’t have many responsibilities; We don’t have to wake up early to go to work, we don’t have kids to look after, we don’t have many places to be, etc. But, if we have a dog, we feel needed, we feel like there’s a purpose for us being around, because our dog loves and needs us.

It’s actually proven that dogs force us to do things: Force us to walk, force us to feed them, force us to talk to them, and so on. Even if you don’t feel good, they need you, and they’ll help you feel better in the process.

When you own a dog, loneliness is less likely to occur. You have your companion by your side to keep you company and to make you feel happy. In turn, this boosts your immune system and your ability to maintain a healthy mindset.

Dogs get rid of depression.

Dog owners are less apt to develop any sort of depression, mainly because their dogs won’t put up with it. To be more specific, dogs understand if their owners are feeling upset, or if they’re a little under the weather, or anything of the sort. Once they understand what’s going on with their owners, the dogs will try their hardest to change moods from bad to good. Dogs will not encourage depression, as a matter of fact, they’ll try and throw it away.

Dogs help out with grandkid’s allergies.

If a dog, or even a cat, is around the house while grandkid’s are growing up, chances are those kids will not develop allergies to such pets. Their body systems will be aware of, and will adapt to, the present pet. In turn, these children are able to develop a better, and stronger, immune system.

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