For many people, getting a dog is a purely emotional decision. After all, they’re man’s best friend; the kind of animal that will always be happy to see you, and who will remain loyal and loving for as long as you’re together. However, taking care of a pooch can also work wonders for your health. Here are some of the biggest health benefits of owning a dog…
They Keep You Active
The latest research says that adults should get around two hours thirty minutes’ worth of exercise a week, and people with dogs are far more likely to hit that goal than those without. Everyone loves to be around their dog, whether inside or outside, and the fact that they’re full of beans means that they’re going to push you towards much more vigorous exercise than you’d usually accomplish.
You can even take your four-legged friend out with you on hikes over rough terrain, with accessories like the ones in this guide to dog carrier backpacks. This health benefit of dog ownership is even more relevant for elderly people who wouldn’t be as mobile if they didn’t take their dog out for walks. Elderly people with dogs will usually experience lower BMI, fewer physical limitations in their day-to-day life, and fewer visits to the doctor.
They Improve the Condition of your Heart
Aside from warming our hearts with their joyful little faces and funny behavioral quirks, dogs also make our hearts stronger and healthier. Studies have found that owning a dog has been linked to lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and reduced levels of triglyceride.
All three of these contribute to better all-round cardiovascular health, and reduced odds of heart attack and stroke. What’s even more surprising is that dog owners who do have heart attacks tend to have better survival rates than people who don’t. Cardiovascular health is of course tied in with the amount of exercise you get, but also the stress relief that having a dog offers.
They Can Reduce your Chances of Depression
It’s been believed for some time that people who own dogs are far less prone to depression than people who don’t. While no one will deny that dogs are one more ray of sunshine in our lives, the correlation between dog ownership and depression is a little hard to clarify.
While there’s certainly evidence that certain demographics of dog owners – for example elderly, isolated women and men who are HIV positive, suffer less incidences of depression than those who don’t have pets, there’s also evidence to suggest that dog ownership doesn’t do all that much for a number of other groups.
Having said that, there have also been studies which show that therapy dogs – dogs that don’t live with people but rather visit in regular sessions, can ease depression and even more damaging conditions such as PTSD. This applies for people old and young, male and female, sick and healthy.
There you have just a handful of the great health benefits owning a dog can offer you.