Archive for February, 2011

Health Benefits of Owning a Dog

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Dog iconThere are many benefits of owning a dog, and many of them are deemed common sense.  Canines can provide you with loyalty and companionship, act as a guard dog or watch dog, serve as a tool for teaching responsibility, perform fun tricks, and so on.  However, a less obvious effect of dog ownership is improved health.  Dog owners are often healthier than people without a pet in numerous ways, both physically and mentally.  The following is a discussion of some of the health benefits of owning a dog.

Reduced Blood Pressure

If you get yourself a dog, you may not have to renew your blood pressure medication.  Petting or stroking your pet gives it immense satisfaction, as can easily be ascertained by its body language and any noises it makes.  What you may not know, however, is that petting a dog positively affects the human as well.  Petting animals has been demonstrated to reduce blood pressure, including lowering high blood pressure that has been brought on by stress or tension.  One study on stress and pet ownership showed that stock brokers who received a dog or cat as a pet had lower blood pressure and healthier heart rates than colleagues who did not receive a pet.

Increased Happiness

In general, dog owners live longer than non-dog owners.  The unconditional love and companionship provided by the dog enables people to better cope with stress and acts as a safeguard against depression.  A person with a dog, whether living alone or with other people, knows that he will always be there to cuddle up with him, to go take a walk at the park, or even just to sit on his lap and keep him company while he reads a book or watches television.  Research has shown that a person who dealt with a stressful situation was better able to cope with and recover from the situation by spending time with their dog than by talking it over with a friend or relative.  A friend might not give you the advice you want to hear or might say something that makes you even more despondent – a dog on the other hand, will give you only love and affection.  Having such a great companion acts an outlet for stress or anxiety that increases a person’s overall wellbeing.

  • Besides acting as a companion, dogs can improve your social life and interactions with human companions.  Having a dog can make you a more compassionate and caring individual, which will make people like you more.  In addition, a dog can often act as a catalyst for conversation.  You may be out walking you dog when someone stops to ask about your dog and ask if they can pet it.  This is the starting point for a conversation that could have any number of positive benefits: you could gain a new friend or acquaintance, find out useful information of which you were previously unaware, or learn about other dog-related events and information.

Exercise

Because the dog will want to get out and walk around, a person who owns a dog will be forced to go out and exercise.  You might take your dog out for a stroll around the neighborhood, or take him to the park and play catch, running back and forth with your canine companion.  Having a dog may even encourage activity where none would be found before.  A person going to the beach who would otherwise just sit on the sand and lie in the sun might instead go to a dog beach and take a beach jog with his furry friend.

  • It should come as no surprise that dog owners have lower cholesterol than dog-less individuals.  Studies indicate that dog owners have lower triglycerides as well, and are at less risk of developing heart disease and various other cardiovascular problems.  Dog owners are healthier overall than the rest of the population.

There you have it – dogs are not only loyal companions, but a source of health, vigor, and positive energy.  A dog would make an indispensable companion in you life, and will provide you with many benefits you would ordinarily not consider.

Popularity: 11% [?]