Benefits of Dog Ownership - Nothing is more exciting than expanding your family - even better when your new family member is a fluffy little puppy. Whether you're getting a puppy or adopting a shelter dog, bringing a dog into your life is a major responsibility. Though being a dog owner involves a significant commitment of time and money, it is not without its benefits. In addition to having a friend for life, getting a dog can provide you with some serious mental and physical health benefits.
Here are some science-backed benefits of owning a dog.
Having a dog means having a constant companion. Your dog will never judge you or make you feel inadequate - dogs love unconditionally, even if you feel like you do not deserve it. Caring for a dog may help you find purpose in life and the constant companionship may help you feel less lonely.
Studies show that people with dogs tend to have stronger mental health. The simple act of interacting with a dog has been shown to boost dopamine and serotonin production which can help relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety. If you struggle with depression or anxiety, get the help you need with an online mental health evaluation then think about getting a dog.
We all see the world in our own individual way, but if you struggle with negativity, having a dog around could give you a boost of positivity. Studies show that certain things can improve your mental health and your outlook on life - having a dog is one of those things. Dogs can also help you cope with and recover from a crisis - they have been shown to reduce symptoms of PTSD in veterans.
Dogs thrive on routine but creating structure for your dog's benefit may be good for you too. Having a dog means planning a routine around your dog's feeding and exercise habits which may help you stick to a routine for yourself in these areas as well. Having a daily routine has been shown to help people who are dealing with depression or anxiety - it can also reduce stress and improve your sleep .
Numerous studies show the benefits of owning a pet, including measurable improvements in cardiovascular health. According to the American Heart Association, owning a pet can lower your blood pressure and reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels which may reduce your risk of heart attack and improve your overall cardiovascular health .
Caring for a dog can help you develop skills like empathy and concern for others that can carry over into your human relationships. Being a dog owner is not always easy, so you will have opportunities to learn patience and understanding as well. Plus, having a dog means spending time outdoors and going for walks which can give you opportunities for social interaction with other dogs and people.
If you're struggling to find that special someone, having a dog could help you feel less lonely in the meantime, but it could also improve your chances of finding a mate. Studies have shown that women are more likely to give a man their phone number if he has a dog with him. In other studies, researchers found that individuals tend to rate people in photographs as happier and more relaxed when they appear in the photograph with a dog .
You're never too old to enjoy having a dog around. As long as you are able to care for it properly, a dog could help you maintain strong cognitive function into your old age. In one study , researchers found pet therapy improved cognitive function in the residents of long-term care facilities. Other studies have shown decreases in agitation and improved social interactions among seniors with dementia .
Having a dog means multiple trips outside each day and, hopefully, at least one daily walk. Though you do these things for your dog's benefit, they's good for you too. Researchers have found that dog owners are more likely to hit their weekly recommendations for exercise and that walking a dog can help with weight loss. In one study, researchers found people who walked dogs had lower body mass index (BMI) and more regular exercise habits.
There's something magical about being welcomed home at the end of a long day by a wagging tail and a pair of big puppy-dog eyes. The unconditional love your dog lavishes on you has a way of draining the stress from your body and giving you a newer, more positive outlook on life. Though bringing a dog into your life isn't a decision to be made lightly, having a canine companion can help make you a happier and healthier person. At the very least, you'll have a furry friend who is always happy to see you.
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