There’s a reason why dogs are called man’s best friend. A good friend is loyal, will be there to pick you up when you’re down, will keep you on track to reach your goals, and will just be there for you as a companion. And that’s exactly what a dog can do for its owner. The mental, physical and social benefits of caring for a dog – or any pet, for that matter – are numerous.
Here are the Top 10 health benefits of owning a dog from HFR team and author of the book ReSYNC Your Life Samir Becic:
Keep you active: Dogs are naturally high-energy companions and love to play and exercise. As a result, dog owners are often inspired toward an active lifestyle to satisfy their dog’s needs. Research conducted by the American Heart Association revealed that dog owners were 54 percent more likely to get the recommended amount of exercise than non-dog owners.
Make you happier: Studies show that dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression and have increased levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are “feel good” neurotransmitters, responsible for emotional stability and pleasure.
Live longer: Owning a dog leads to many heart-healthy benefits, such as a decrease in blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol levels, overall decreasing the risk for heart disease. One study showed that non-dog owners who had survived a heart attack were more likely to die within a year than dog-owners were.
Boost immunity: Though dogs are often known for being the messiest in the family, getting accustomed to exposure to fur and pet dander decreases the risk of allergies and asthma in children.
Feeling calmer: Dogs provide a calming, familiar presence that decreases stress and anxiety levels. One study revealed that Alzheimer’s patients who owned dogs had fewer anxiety-induced outbursts than Alzheimer’s patients without dogs.
Promotes social interaction: Dogs provide a natural connection with other people and are great conversation starters. Common questions and comments from dog lovers, owners and social butterflies include, “What breed are they?”, “How long have you had them?” and “They’re so cute!” These conversation starters cue an instant social connection.
Provides safety and peace of mind: Many times, dogs are adopted for their territorial qualities, providing many people with a sense of security. Dogs also provide a sense of security in terms of health, such as detecting low blood sugar levels and oncoming seizures even before the person recognizes them.
Rehabilitation: Dogs encourage owners to be more active, boosting mental fortitude for recovery.
Provides companionship: The renowned excitability of the beloved canine companion provides an irreplaceable bond between a dog and its owner, thus decreasing loneliness.
Teaches responsibility: Dog ownership enables many – from adults to young children – to learn basic responsibility. From refilling the food bowl to giving the dog a bath, dog owning coaches responsibility because a dog fully relies on its owner for attention, meals and cleanliness.