7 Reasons why owning a dog is good for your health!!

They’re cute, they’re furry, they are mans best friend but did you know owning a dog does so much more for your health? Here’s 7 reasons and 3 cute pups to help you convince your other half you NEED a dog….it’s for health benefits!

1.Steps, Steps and more Steps – your furry companion will help you hit those step targets like no other. A small dog needs anything from 20 mins exercise and a large dog anything from 30 mins a day. Some needing more depending on the breed! Do you realise how many Fitbit goals that will help you hit, never mind the fresh air for your mental health and that break away from the chaos of everyday life. Grab your pooch, head to your nearest forest, park or beach and get moving.

 

2.Improve Heart Health – Studies show that having a canine companion is linked to lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol, and decreased triglyceride levels, which contribute to better overall cardiovascular health and fewer heart attacks. What’s more, dog owners who do have heart attacks have better survival rates following the events. 

3.Reduce Stress – Have you ever walked past a puppy and instantly felt happier, you’ve probably even smiled at said puppy or went ‘oh look at you!’ its cool, you’re still manly – don’t worry! But WHAT happened there was a relief of stress and tension. Spending just a few minutes with a pet can lower anxiety and blood pressure, and increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, two neurochemicals that play big roles in calm and wellbeing. People performing stressful tasks do better when there’s a dog around, too, and studies show dogs ease tension both at the office and between married couples, but they won’t stop the arguments over who does the dishes. 

4.Help with Depression – It’s widely believed that dog owners are less prone to depression than the dog-less, largely because they seem to help in so many other areas of health and wellbeing. For the elderly, sick or lonely. That 1 dog can provide love, comfort and a touch of happiness everyday that might not have been there before. However we really recommend talking to someone, anyone if you’re feeling signs of depression or loneliness.

5.Improve Kid’s Health – Not only are dogs good for their owner’s well being, but also a family who owns a dog can have healthier children. Kids who grow up with dogs in their homes tend to have fewer allergies and are less likely to have eczema. These same kids also tend to have fewer sick days than those kids who don’t have dogs, according to Science Daily. So the next time wee Zuma eats your favourite trainer or costs a fortune at the vets, remember all the goodness he is bringing to your family’s life. On the other hand, if your kids have been begging you for a dog, remember while it may pee and poop everywhere in the early days, it could also help reduce the number of sick days for you and your kids – I mean really?? Can you even argue that?

6.Improve your social life – As we get older it becomes harder to get out and meet people. Researchers have found that about 40 percent of dog owners make friends more easily, possibly because the vast majority—4 in 5, according to one British study—speak with other dog owners during walks. “Dog owners in particular tend to be a little more extroverted, or outgoing” says Joubert. “When you start to engage them about their companion animal, people tend to open up and really blossom. They want to share stories about their favourite friend.

 

7.They’re SO Clever – There is absolutely no debating how clever dogs can be. We use them to help the visually impaired lead as normal a life as possible, we use them in fire, policing and the army. We really do have so much to thank them for, but did you also know dogs can be used in the following ways, 

  • Some dogs have been trained to sniff out skin, kidney, bladder, and prostate cancer, among others. 
  • Service dogs are known to benefit people with everything from traumatic brain injury to autism to rheumatoid arthritis, increasing mobility and promoting independence.
  • Alzheimer’s patients are soothed by dogs, whose companionship also seems to mitigate emotional flare-ups and aggression.

 

So there you have it? We have given you the green light to get that dog.

Before welcoming a new dog into your home, please remember a dog is a long term commitment and a big responsibility, Research any breeds fully and ensure you have a safe and secure home and if possible rescue a furry friend in the need from our friends at Dogs Trust! who have a nearby rescue centre in Ballymena. We also understand due to work commitments owning a dog isn’t for everyone, but why not offer to walk that elderly neighbour or friends dog or help out at your local animal charity.

 

Photo credits to our mate Zoe J Watson & Teddy, Yee Lan Magill & Walter and Zuma, The Hungarian Vizsla my husband thinks I’m joking about…