You could be grossly obese, rail thin, super model hot, or have a face that only a mother could love. It doesn’t matter to a dog. Dogs provide us with unconditional love that you can rarely find with another human.
The love that you get from a dog is nice, but there also proven health benefits of owning a dog. Studies have been conducted over the last few decades to examine the relationship between owning pets and being healthy.
Pets and children
The health benefits of owning a dog can be seen in infants. There are several studies showing the correlation between babies that are exposed to dogs, and a reduction of both pet and skin allergies. Though the exact numbers differ slightly, the consensus is overwhelmingly positive for children exposed to dogs.
When exposed to one dog from birth, children are slightly less likely to develop allergies, asthma, and eczema (a skin allergy). When exposed to two or more furred pets on a consistent basis, the likelihood of getting these conditions was greatly reduced.
Pets and working-aged people
When it comes to young and middle aged people, dogs are just as beneficial as with children. Social and health advantages can be seen when this group owns a dog.
Not only are you going to be healthier because of walking your dog, owning the dog puts you into social situations that you might not have otherwise entered into. Furthermore, you are less likely to become a victim of depression and anxiety.
Owning a dog is especially helpful for those who work in high stress industries. Petting a dog for fifteen minutes a day reduces high blood pressure. It also lowers levels of cortisone and norepinephrine, chemicals that are linked to a build-up of plaque in the arteries.
Not only does petting your dog lower negative chemicals, it raises the positive ones. When stroking your dog, you are likely to have an increase of serotonin, prolactin, oxytocin, and dopamine, giving you a pleasurable, peaceful feeling.
Pets and senior citizens
Seniors are in the group which perhaps sees the most health benefits of having a dog. The companionship alone is a wonderful thing for a senior. Dogs can also offer an elderly person a feeling of being protected.
Aside from emotional advantages, there are tons of ways a pet dog can make a senior citizen healthier. Studies have shown that pet owners with Alzheimer’s have fewer anxiety driven outbursts.
Heart attack victims who own a dog are far more likely to be alive a year after the attack than one who doesn’t. Male pet owners particularly, have fewer symptoms of heart disease, better cholesterol levels, and lower triglycerides.
People of all ages can benefit from having a furry best friend. The effects are immediately noticeable. If your get yourself a rescue dog, you will not only be helping yourself, you will be helping to save another life, and you can feel good about that too!
Jeanie Lerche Davis, “5 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health” WebMD
Jane Weaver, “Puppy Love–It’s Better Than You Think” MSNBC