If you have a dog, then you already know what makes being a dog owner so awesome. The love and friendship, the responsibility, the fun and sense of purpose, the list goes on.
What many canine lovers don’t realize however, is that all those warm fuzzy feelings and new experiences they share with their pet provide tangible physical and psychological benefits which are backed by science.
Reduces risk of heart disease
Cardiovascular disease is often cited as the number one cause of death in the United States. A series of studies by the American heart association have concluded that owning a pet can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Reduces blood pressure
According to a special report by Harvard University, multiple studies have shown that people who own dogs have lower blood pressure than ones who don’t. This is likely do to the fact that dog owners are more likely to be physically active with their pup, and also because of the calming effect dogs bring to their owners.
According to the Neighborhood Quality of Life Study, Dog walkers meet recommended activity levels more often than people who don’t walk their dog. Dog walkers are also less likely to be obese.
Similarly the PPET Study (People and Pets Exercising Together), showed that obese people who exercised with their dog lost more weight than those who exercised without a dog.
Helps reduce risk of type 2 diabetes
All of that aforementioned physical activity that comes with owning a dog, helps with more than just your weight. A special report put out by Harvard also notes that it helps reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Helps us feel less lonely
Given that dogs are often called man’s best friend, it’s not much of a surprise that having one around can help combat loneliness. Research shows that having a dog can help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Helps us stay positive
When dogs show affections to their owners it releases a powerful hormone called oxytocin. This hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland in humans during bonding activities and leads to positive feelings and emotions. Bonding with your dog produces a psychologically benefit similar to the one we get when we bond with other people.
Makes us more sociable
Dogs have a way of bringing people together. If nothing else our pets are great conversation starters! One study found that as many 40% of pet owners find it easier to make new friends.
Adds structure and routine
Having dog also brings the added benefit of structure and routine. This is especially true of those with chronic illnesses. Having a pet around to care fore turns your attention off of your self and onto your pet. This can lead to better moods and even a better quality of life.
Helps us cope with grief and crisis
A study at Purdue’s College of Veterinary Medicine showed that military veterans suffering from PTSD who had a service dog showed fewer symptoms and better coping skills than those without.
Many dog owners have also noted that their pet helped them through the grieving process after the loss of a loved one.
Benefits for children
Helps minimize symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Children with ASD who live with a companion animal often show more prosocial behaviors. Also parents of children with ASD who own a dog have been shown to be less stressed.
Helps improve academic performance
In a recent survey done by Mars Petcare 72% of parents said their child was more motivated when a pet was around. 90% of parents said that interacting with the household pet helped boost their child’s concentration and energy.
The majority of parents also that pet interaction should regularly be used in schools. rechai
May Reduce allergies
Mounting studies suggest that children who have a pet while young (especially within the first two years), are less likely to develop certain allergies than children who did not grow up with pets during their first 6 years.