Almost any dog owner will tell you how getting a dog has changed their life for the better. Owning a dog will benefit you in many ways including socially, physically, and psychologically. When you’re caring for a dog, you’re also caring for yourself. Read on to learn more about the health benefits gained when you add a dog to your home.
1. Decreases Stress, Anxiety, & Cortisol Levels
Simply being around a dog will help you reduce stress and anxiety. A 2019 study by Washington State University found lower levels of stress and anxiety in college students after petting dogs. According to this study, petting a dog for just 10 minutes can greatly reduce cortisol in humans, lowering overall stress and anxiety levels. Because dogs can help you calm down in times of anxiety and stress, you’ll be better at problem-solving and managing issues. Similarly, dogs have been found to lower agitation and increase cognitive abilities in elderly patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Many dog owners attest to their dogs’ humorous behaviors and personalities that make them laugh and smile. This is great news as just smiling or laughing is enough to boost our moods. Seeing your dog happy and in a good, silly mood is enough to increase your own levels of happiness. The care we give our dogs helps us reflect on the way we look after ourselves and if there is more self-care we can do.
2. Lowers Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
As a result of lower stress levels, dog owners have healthier hearts and lower blood pressure readings. These great benefits don’t take long to kick in either. In just a few months, dog owners become less likely to suffer a heart attack or develop heart problems. With a healthier heart, your chances of living a longer life greatly increase.
Additionally, walking a dog every day promotes weight loss. For people who are overweight or obese, this can have great health benefits such as lowered blood pressure and cholesterol. It’s also great for your mental health! Remember that owning a dog alone will not lower your blood pressure or help you live longer. The work and time put into caring for your dogs are responsible for these health benefits.
3. Keeps You Active
Owning a dog means taking daily walks and helping your dog burn off energy. Generally, when you’re exercising your dog, you’re also exercising your own body. The frequent walks and play keep your body moving and breathing in fresh air. People who may feel too shy to exercise in public generally find they are more comfortable with a dog at their side, even if it’s just for a daily walk.
Dogs also provide a sense of stability and routine due to their care schedule. Because dogs need to have daily walks and exercise to burn off energy, their owners must be consistent with exercise and staying active. While you may not think of it as exercise, walking your dog gets you into an active schedule every day. Plus, it’s much easier to stick to this habit because your dog depends on you to take them on walks to burn off energy.
4. Improves Social Life
Just like helping us move more, dogs also keep us socially active. By leaving your house more often, you have a higher chance of meeting new people, especially if you have a dog that loves attention and making friends. People seem more approachable with dogs at their sides, leading others to feel more comfortable making conversation and being social.
Dogs are great icebreakers for shy dog owners. From passing someone on the sidewalk while you’re walking your dog or taking frequent trips to your local dog park, you’ll gain more opportunities to speak with people. With your dog as the focus of attention, you can engage with someone else without feeling the pressure of leading the conversation.
5. Prevents Loneliness
Often called “man’s best friend,” is it any surprise that dogs lessen feelings of loneliness in their owners? Reduced loneliness doesn’t just come from talking to people during daily dog walks, you’ll also be less lonely just from having a dog at home with you. Owning a dog or other pet cuts back on feelings of isolation and detachment from others while giving us a sense of purpose and belonging. This is especially true for people who live alone.
Dogs are also good at sensing our emotions and giving comfort and additional companionship when needed. We talk to, play with, and cuddle our pets. All these things boost our feelings of connection and love. Owning a pet will also give you something to look forward to at the end of the day as your pet excitedly awaits your return.
Want to begin your journey as a dog owner? Check out local puppies for sale on Lancaster Puppies to start looking for the perfect companion.