September 18, 2013

The Health Benefits of Owning a Dog

Posted in: Dog

There is no doubt owning a dog is hard work especially at the beginning when you are trying to toilet train them, trying to teach them to understand your commands and generally trying to teach them how to be awesome. But if you put all those things to the side for a moment and look at the good things dogs provide us, they are seriously amazing. They have so much love to give you, they are so loyal to you and not to mention all the health benefits they give you.

Research has shown that owning a dog can have measurable health benefits to children and adults. Here are 7 health benefits you get from owing a fur ball.

1. Dogs strengthen your immune system

Dogs are gross, they are covered in germs! Sometimes I catch Toby eating possum poo in the park and I dry reach and give him the, ‘you’re so disgusting’ look. But after a few hours I’ll forget that ever happened and I’ll give him so many kisses on the bridge of his nose that no doubt possum poo particles are on me. It’s probably best not to think about that. Anyway, having a dog in the house means more bacteria enters the home and you get covered in it, building your immune system. Those that don’t have a dog living in their home are exposed to fewer germs and can’t build up their immunity.

2. Dogs make children less likely to develop allergies

When a women is pregnant and living with a dog or when children live with a dog, the kids are less likely to develop allergies related to dog hair and are less likely to develop eczema. I’m so excited for the day when Toby and our children hang out, not only will he help them be healthier individuals he will also make an excellent big fur brother.

3. Dogs make you happier

The love dogs give their owners helps to increase the amount of oxytocin the, I feel so good, chemical in the brain. There is no doubt Toby is pumping a lot of those chemicals around my brain every time I hang out with him.

4. Dogs give you a healthier heart

Research has shown that pet owners have slightly lower cholesterol and have more of a chance to survive a heart attack. Just by giving your dog a cuddle or letting them give you a kiss lowers heart rate and blood pressure.

5. Dogs make you exercise

I never did any exercise before Toby, but he forces me to be out and about for 2 hours each day which I love. Dogs need to be walked and played with numerous times a day and that translates to you getting the recommended minimum 30 minutes of exercise a day.

6. Dogs make you more social

This is something that I never expected to happen when we got Toby. I have never been as connected to my community as I am now. I have met such a mixed bag of amazing people that live in my neighbourhood just from the dog park. It has been proven that people trust others who have a dog more than just a random person walking on the street and are more likely to go up and interact with them. My conversation starter at the dog park is always the same, ‘how old is your dog’ and from there we go on to all other topics. I think I may write a post of all the interesting people I have met at the park in the next couple of weeks.

7. Dogs can detect cancer

This is a huge one for me since I have a strong family history of cancer. Besides having my annual specialist and MRI appointments Toby, and any dog for that matter, has the ability to smell cancer in the human body. Some dogs are so good at this that they are trained to detect cancer. There are stories from all over the world where owners whose dogs kept sniffing or licking a mole or lump on their body went and got it checked out, discovering it was cancerous.

So to summaries, dogs will turn you into better human beings by just being themselves.

Tell us in the comment section below, have you noticed your dog has improved your health or your quality of life?