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7 Health Benefits Of Having a Dog

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If you're a dog owner, you already know how fun it is to have a dog. But, did you know that there are actual physical and mental health benefits to owning a pup? It’s true! You’re improving your health each moment you spend time with your favorite canine(s) without even knowing! With that said, here are the 7 Health Benefits of Having a Dog that you’re reaping by just being with your pooch!

1.) They keep your heart healthy.

According to the New York Times, dog owners are 23% less likely to get a cardiovascular disease. As a dog owner, you’re more active than those who don’t have dogs. You’re getting an extra 22 minutes of walking (NPR) and have 20% higher activity levels (Reuter). With those trips around the block and walks to your dog’s favorite bathroom spot, exercising is a regular part of your routine and seems effortless with your pup by your side.

2.) They keep your stress levels low.

As a result of low stress levels, you have lower chances of getting depression, anxiety, and high blood pressure. This phenomenon can be explained by playing with and petting your dog. Playing with your dog releases serotonin and dopamine – your feel-good hormones (Humana). Serotonin is one of the main neurotransmitters that contributes to feelings of happiness and dopamine is a neurotransmitter that’s responsible for love. And, petting your dog can increase your oxytocin, which increases your bond with your dog, creates feelings of love, and counters cortisol – your stress hormone (VetStreet).

3.) Dogs help you sleep better.

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Your pup banned from your pillowside? You might want to rethink that. Studies have shown that sleeping with your dog can help you sleep better. Having your dog in the room gives you a sense of security and lowers your stress levels, both of which can help you have a good night’s sleep (Today). It’s worth noting that your dog doesn’t have to sleep in the bed with you, just be in the same room as you.

4.) Having a dog can make you more social.

You’ll cross paths with your dog owning neighbors, people going on their run, or even strangers exploring your neighborhood on your walks. In other words, you’ll meet more people by just walking your dog! In fact, a survey conducted by the University of Western Australia, dog walking was the third most common way survey respondents met their neighbors (Harvard Health Publishing). This creates an opportunity for new friendships and prevents social isolation.

Humans are social animals and we need human interaction to survive. Social isolation can be a dangerous health hazard for some people because it can cause loneliness. Loneliness can lead to raised stress levels, inflammation, disrupted sleep patterns, and altered immune systems. It also may be a preclinical sign of Alzheimer’s disease (New York Times).

5.) Dogs can boost your immune system.

Your dog plays a role in strengthening your immune system by bringing in bacteria that you might otherwise not be exposed to (OptiBacProbiotics). Despite bacteria exposure’s bad reputation, it’s actually good for you and your long-term health. It allows your immune system to create responses in place to counter these bacteria if countered again.

6.) Dogs can sniff out cancer.

A dog’s sense of smell is 40 times better than a human’s sense of smell. Because of their keen olfactory senses, there have been canines trained to sniff out cancer. But, even pups that aren’t trained can sense there’s something off.

According to LiveScience, “a patient reported that her dog would constantly sniff at a mole on her leg” and even tried to bite it off once in a 1989 case study. Alarmed by her dog’s reactions to her mole, she got it checked out and found out that it was malignant melanoma. And, this is just one story out of many.

7.) Having a dog helps you live longer.

It’s true! You have a higher chance of living longer! As a matter of fact, having a dog can reduce your chances of premature death by 33% (Medical News Today). And, with all those health benefits you learned above, does it really surprise you?

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Pet Health Benefits of Owning a Dog like Dog Walking Benefits and Dogs Stress Reliever

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