It's A Dogs Life - How Owning A Dog Is Good For Your Health

It’s A Dogs Life – How Owning A Dog Is Good For Your Health

It’s A Dogs Life – How Owning A Dog Is Good For Your Health

There is a saying that if you have teenage children, buy a dog. That way you can guarantee someone is pleased to see you when you come home! Although this is a joke, in fact not only is it good for the soul to be greeted by a waggy tail and a loving lick, owning a pet has far more significant health benefits than you may know.

Dogs are unique in the fact that, if they are frightened, happy, nervous or merely pleased to see us, they will seek us out. Their human companion is their entire focus, much like a human child would seek out their parent in such circumstances. Unlike other animals, dogs will look to make eye contact, indeed yearning for that close connection, wanting to be a part of our day to day lives.

Although cats can show attachments and love for their humans, they like to keep us on a longer leash. Of course, some feline friends like nothing more than curling up on their owner’s lap but these are few and far between, Remember the adage that you ever really own a cat, more they own you.

It's A Dogs Life - How Owning A Dog Is Good For Your Health

Despite this, no matter the companion, pets can help to lower our stress levels. In-depth studies have revealed that snuggling up with your pet, in most cases a dog or a cat releases the chemical “oxytocin” in both human and pet. This chemical has the effect of calming and soothing which, in turn, strengthens the bond between owner and pet, a bond which can rival the intensity of any human relationships you may have.

Aside from a reduction in stress, owning a pet can benefit you in other ways ranging from a healthier heart to an overall physical and mental well-being.

The cardiovascular and lowered blood pressure improvement can be explained at least in part by the expected increase in exercise that comes with owning a dog. If you are increasing your activity by walking even 10 minutes briskly per day, the benefits are measurable. We are also less likely to put off exercise if we have a reason to do it, such as the dogs need to go out than we would be should if it was a case of merely looking after ourselves.

Dogs owners are a social breed. By taking your dog outside, you are likely to interact with others more freely. The knock on effect of this is one of a sense of connection with your surroundings and those who share your community. This will improve moods, assisting again in a reduction of cortisol, the stress hormone, and an overall improvement in your attitude and general demeanour.

If you own a pet, you’re also far less likely to suffer from depression or anxiety. This is the logic behind ESA, or Emotional Support Animals. Providing those suffering from mental health issues, such as depression or PTSD, with therapy animals can be life-changing. Many organisations can help, such as K9s For Warriors, though seek out advice from your medical professional. They can assist you to register emotional support dog requirements for yourself or a loved one.

There are also dogs who have been specially trained as a hospital companion, or taken to care or nursing homes to raise the mood of the residents. The sheer and straightforward pleasure made by interacting with these animals has a profound effect on the comfort and joy experienced by these patients or seniors.

Lower blood pressure and cholesterol aside, dog owners have been found to experience fewer minor ailments such as common colds. Due to their incredible sense of smell, approximately 10,000 times more sensitive than that of a human, dogs have also been proven to act as an”early warning” system, trained to detect an impending epileptic seizure or detect certain illnesses. Some organisations provide medical detection dogs, trained to assist people with life-threatening medical conditions such as diabetes and cancer.

Of course, the downside to pet ownership and the close bonds we forge is loss. The death of a pet can invoke in us the same sense of grief we experience when losing a human loved one.

This is inevitable. The greater the extent to which we allow our pets into our lives and families, the more we encourage them to and let them help us recover from illness, keep our depression or emotional anxiety at bay and, simply put, become our best friends, the more devastating the loss.

Their lives may be short, but they will leave pawprints on our hearts forever!

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