Dogs are not just the best friends of their owners, but they also contribute to their health and happiness in many other ways that are often overlooked or underestimated. That’s why many studies show that dog owners tend to be healthier and happier than those who don’t own dogs, especially when it comes to stress relief and overall mood improvement. Here are some ways how dogs can help you live a healthier life.
1) Dogs provide unconditional love
What does unconditional love do? Studies have shown that getting love from our pets can boost our immune systems, lower blood pressure and even help us live longer. In fact, some researchers believe having pets in general reduces stress levels; spending time with our furry friends lowers cortisol levels in both dogs and their owners. When those cortisol levels drop, we experience lower blood pressure and less anxiety. It also boosts feel-good hormones such as serotonin and dopamine.
2) They lower your stress levels
Owning a dog is one of life’s greatest pleasures. As creatures that need looking after, they help to ease our stress and anxiety. A scientific study revealed that talking to or playing with dogs actually lowered people’s stress levels by up to 68%. This effect is also likely to be related to having company, as dog owners tend to have far fewer people visit their homes on average than those who don’t own dogs. So not only do you benefit from their companionship, but others around you can benefit too.
3) Dogs keep you active
People who own dogs are more likely to get exercise. This is especially true if you walk your dog. And if you don’t live in an area with easy walking trails, your dog may even inspire you to take up running. Studies have shown dog owners take an average of two additional walks per week than non-dog owners, burning an extra 150 calories daily. Bonus: increased activity might also be linked to decreased risk of heart disease, dementia and depression.
4) They can cure loneliness
When you’re feeling lonely, all you need is a good cuddle to feel better. If your human friends aren’t around or want to give you some space, look no further than your dog—just remember not to overdo it. After all, dogs can easily become jealous if they think you care more about other animals than them. Luckily for dogs, humans are very forgiving and love unconditionally. That being said, there have been cases of people committing heinous crimes on their best friend simply because he was their best friend.
5) They are great listeners
Studies have shown that people who have pets are less likely to suffer from depression and may even live longer than those without animal companions. When you’re feeling down, it’s often comforting to get out your pet for some quality time together. Dogs in particular are great listeners; they are non-judgmental when it comes to pouring your heart out about what’s wrong with your life or how much you miss an old friend or loved one, and will happily stare up at you as long as necessary. Also, having a furry creature by your side can help alleviate loneliness and make you feel more secure.