How Dogs Make Us Happier and Healthier
Wouldn’t you agree that all it takes is one sloppy wet kiss from your furry friend to turn a frown upside down? It’s actually scientific fact that pets make us happier and healthier. Dogs have this natural ability to warm our heart, and in fact, the American Heart Association has shown that having a dog can reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease.
But that’s not all. Many of us know that pets can act as furry therapists, and pet therapy is becoming more popular every year. This fuzzy therapy has been linked to the reduction of anxiety, pain, and depression in people with mental or physical health issues. Additionally, it’s been shown that either playing ball or petting a dog can increase the levels of oxytocin (the feel-good hormone) in your brain, as well as lowering the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone) produced. Pet therapy is even being adopted at some universities, where dogs are on call during midterms and finals to help alleviate depression and stress for students.
Another amazing talent dogs have is their ability to sniff out cancer. A dog’s sense of smell is 1 million times stronger than ours. As we all know, working dogs can use their sense of smell to locate bombs and drugs, but dogs can also sniff out what’s going on inside our bodies. With training, a dog can detect critical differences in smells that indicate cancer, such as smelling the difference between the breath of healthy people and the breath of people with breast or lung cancer.
It doesn’t stop there. It’s true when they say about dogs being man’s - or woman’s - best friend. It can be difficult living alone or having social anxiety, and no one likes the feeling of being isolated. Fortunately, science has confirmed that having a dog at home to greet you and spend time with you can help increase a sense of belonging. People who own dogs report having higher self-esteem and coping better after social dilemmas. There are real social benefits to having a dog for a best friend!
Finally, if you have a dog, hopefully you take them out for at least one walk a day. That walking is not only good for your dog, but also benefits you as well. Dog owners are found to hit their daily target of 10,000 steps per day more often than non-dog owners. This, in turn, can help reduce blood pressure. Additionally, it has been found by the American Heart Association that when pet owners bond with their dogs, such as going for a walk together, it naturally reduces blood pressure brought on by mental stress.
There are many other examples of how dogs can make us happier and healthier. It’s truly amazing what these furry creatures can do for their human companions! If you’re thinking about getting a dog, hopefully this article has given you several more great reasons to add one to your home!