According to the American Psychological Association’s research, people who have dogs as pets have healthy minds and bodies than people who don’t own any dogs. This guide will tell you how dogs contribute to your health and happiness.
Dogs are intuitive and loyal pets; they have a natural desire to please their owners. As time goes on, dogs start to build a better and more improved understanding of their owners because they’ve adapted to their habits, manners, and emotions.
With just a look into your eyes, your dog can pick up what emotion you’re feeling. For example, if you’re feeling sad and your dog can tell, it will try to find ways to cheer you up and comfort you simultaneously.
How are Dogs Good for Our Mental Health?
Dogs are extremely beneficial for our mental health, especially for people who are suffering from mental health issues like ADHD, autism, depression, and anxiety.
1. Reduces Stress
One of the most important benefits of having a dog is stress relief. Many studies show that when people are stressed out, they should take the time out of their day to give their dogs some love by showering them with pats and kisses.
This is because when you do this, it immediately helps you to reduce the stress hormone cortisol and increases the stress-reducing hormone called oxytocin which is extremely beneficial for your cardiovascular health.
Stress also causes high blood pressure that can cause you to develop heart diseases and expose you to risks of heart attacks and strokes. Some studies also state that people with dogs tend to take lesser stress than people without dogs.
2. Decrease in Depression
Many people suffering from depression feel that spending time with their dogs serves as an anti-depressant for them because it helps relieve their stress and makes them happy.
This is also because spending time with their dog increases hormones like oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine, which are extremely helpful in curing depression. It’s therapeutic just to cuddle and watch your dog and see how it reacts to everything around it.
Did you know that saving a life or taking care of life is a way of curing depression in itself? Some people go to great lengths to rescue dogs from abusive homes and pet shelters so that those dogs can have a chance at a better life.
Various organizations rescue dogs and rehabilitate them for a second chance at life. While there are dog rescues that cater to all dog breeds, some are dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of specific dog breeds, such as Bernese Mountain Dog Rescue, German Shepherd Rescue, and Goldendoodle Rescue, etc.
3. Help With Anxiety
Dogs are beneficial for people who have anxiety because it helps distract you from your anxious mind when you’re petting, stroking, and playing with your dog. This is also very helpful for people who live alone.
Although many people who suffer from anxiety have their own dogs, there are specially trained dogs, also known as service dogs, for the purpose of helping their owners who suffer from anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
A service dog is also very helpful during anxiety attacks by providing comfort, calming them down, and even getting their medication for them.
How Do Dogs Improve Our Physical Health?
There are many ways a dog can help us improve our physical health, such as:
1. Increased Fitness
Even though we hate to admit it, most of us aren’t as active as others and prefer to stay in our beds and couches all day. By doing this, we become lazy, which in turn makes us gain unhealthy weight.
However, having a dog around can help us become more active and fit with the help of physical activities that you can do with your dog, such as taking your dog on walks, playing fetch with it, and going on hikes. You’re more likely to have a 28% increase in your walking speed when walking your dog, while when you’re walking with a person, you’re only increasing 4% of your walking speed.
This can also help reduce the risk of obesity. It’s been stated by the Journal of Physical Activity and Health that people who own dogs are able to become fit more quickly than people who don’t own dogs.
2. Reduced Cholesterol and Triglycerides
When you have dogs, you’re not only increasing your energy levels and becoming fit, but your cholesterol and triglycerides levels become lower, which are signs of a healthy heart and fewer risks of gaining any heart diseases. This is because of having to perform many physical exercises with your dog. This has been proven by a Harvard Medical School broadcast.
3. Decrease Risks of Chronic Diseases
Dogs not only decrease the risks of heart diseases but also decrease the risks of chronic diseases. For example, people who walk their dogs every day have a lesser chance of getting diabetes than people who don’t have dogs.
This is because they’re not just monitoring their diets but also improving their physical activity levels and reducing stress levels which are also signs of diabetes type II, according to the exercise scientist Cindy Letino.
One more example is that a child that’s been around a family dog since birth is less likely to get chronic diseases like asthma and eczema than a child growing up without a dog because of the bacteria present in the dog’s body and fur that help in improving the child’s immune system.
Another research states that dogs also protect children from ear infections, common colds, and hay fever.
Conclusion for How Can Dogs Contribute to Your Health & Happiness in 2022?
Dogs are contagious. They spread their positive energy to the people around them. Their adorable and friendly behavior induces stress-relieving hormones in humans, helping to alleviate anxiety and depression.
Dogs love to play, which requires owners to participate with them, enabling them to adopt a healthy lifestyle. This, in turn, reduces the risk of getting heart diseases.
In short, adopting dogs can make a positive contribution to your health and happiness.
Author Bio: Dur-e-Sabih provides ghostwriting and copywriting services. Her educational background in Accountancy helps her in tackling topics ranging from career and business productivity to web development, finance, and digital marketing.