Benefits of Dog Ownership
By Arlo the Hound with help from Honor Tarpenning
Dog owners know that owning a dog makes them happy. Nothing compares to that sweet face staring up at you from your lap, or that excited trot as your dog returns a fetched stick. But did you know that owning a dog is hugely beneficial in other ways as well? Reducing stress is one of the most overreaching ways to improve your health. Owning a dog reduces your stress and generally improves your physical and mental health in many ways.
Blood Pressure Control
Blood pressure medication serves the purpose of keeping blood pressure level, for the most part; but it cannot control spikes due to tension and stress. Petting a dog and even just having a beloved, furry friend nearby has been shown to reduce the tension and stress that can cause spikes in blood pressure.
Walking the dog
Those who walk their dogs enjoy the benefit of improved cardiovascular fitness, stronger muscles and bones, decreased stress, and lower blood pressure. It is true that many dog owners do not benefit from this great perk of pet ownership because they do not walk their dogs. Walking your dog is good for you and your dog; you will both stay fit and increase your life expectancy.
Dog owners are significantly more likely than non-dog owners to be active. This doesn’t just include walking the dog, but also getting out and about and having fun with your dog. Having a dog gives you an excuse and a partner with whom to spend time outside, soak in the fresh air and sunshine, and go for a hike or a frolic on the beach.
It is almost impossible to be in a bad mood when greeted at home by puppy dog eyes and a wagging tail. Owning a dog is proven to decrease the likeliness of depression. According to Science Daily, researchers at UCLA “found that men with AIDs who had close attachments with pets were significantly less likely to suffer from depression than men with AIDS who did not have a pet companion.” This has also been found to be the case among the elderly.
Those walking dogs are viewed as more approachable than those not walking dogs. Dogs give you a reason to strike up a conversation when otherwise you might just stand quietly. Many networking and friendship opportunities are open to dog owners. Those who might have trouble meeting people and making friends find it much easier with a dog.
Isolation causes extreme stress for many people. Owning a dog can greatly reduce the feeling of isolation and thus the accompanying stress. You’re never alone when you have a dog. They are not only someone to talk to when you’re feeling down or need to get something off your chest, but they’re someone who will never tell and never judge you.
Survival Rate after Heart Attack
Having a dog can quite literally help you hold on in one of the more precarious of health situations. In a study evaluating the survival rate one year after a heart attack conducted by the Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences at Brooklyn College of CUNY New York, “dog owners are significantly less likely to die within 1 year than those who did not own dogs.”
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