Ask Away Blog: 7 Ways Dogs Can Improve Your Health

7 Ways Dogs Can Improve Your Health

Wednesday, March 20, 2019


It’s no secret that being around a four-legged furry creature can make you feel just a little bit better. It doesn't matter how sick or stressed out you are, merely being in their presence can get you smiling. A dog is a constant companion, who will love you unconditionally and be there for you whenever you need them. This knowledge alone can improve your mental health, but, the benefits of owning a dog do go far beyond that, positively affecting your body and health as a whole. With that in mind, here are seven surprising ways owning a dog can improve your health.


1. Lower Your Stress Levels
There is a reason professionals use dogs for therapy: Just being in the same space as your pet for only a few minutes can have a calming effect, lowing your levels of anxiety and therefore your blood pressure. The reason for this is that spending time with companion animals triggers the release of a powerful neurochemical called oxytocin. This brings about feelings of joy, which helps to combat stress. As well as aiding your mental health, this also keeps your body healthy.

2. Keep You Physically Active
Although some people do enjoy it, most would agree that exercising alone is less than fun. Because of this, those without a workout buddy tend to skip or completely ditch their fitness plans. Dog owners, on the other hand, are a lot more likely to stick to routines and hit their goals. This is because dogs also need exercise, which means that, if you were to skip your morning walk, your pet would suffer too. This increase in activity will help you to fight off many illnesses.

3. Reduce Your Cardiovascular Risk
Dogs certainly fill our hearts, but what many people don’t realize is that they help to make them stronger too. The combination of increased physical activity and reduced stress, as well as the lower blood pressure, all contribute to better overall cardiovascular health. This means that you’ll be at a lower risk of having a heart attack or developing a serious illness, like heart disease. What’s better, when dog owners do have a heart attack, they have higher rates of survival.

4. Alert You To Dangers
With today’s hearing aids, many of those who have hearing loss can minimize the symptoms and prevent any further damage. That being said, while you may be able to enjoy your life better with these high-tech hearing devices, this isn’t always an option. Sometimes the hearing loss is just too severe for an aid to help. In these cases, however, a hearing dog can. These dogs are trained to alert deaf people to sounds, including danger signals, which helps to keep them safe.

5. Improve Your Social Life
As we age, many of us find it more difficult to get out of the house and meet new people. However, this isn’t the case for dog owners. When you have a pet that needs walking each day, you have little choice but to take them out. This exposes you to a whole host of people, many of whom will be walking their dogs too. With this common ground between you, you’ll find it much easier to start up conversations and forge relationships. You may even make a few new friends.

6. Monitor Any Health Changes
Dogs can be incredibly sensitive to their owner’s mood and behavior, which can be helpful in a number of ways, especially for those with diabetes. If this is something that you suffer from, then your pet may be able to sense your plummeting blood sugar levels before even you can. As strange as it sounds, your dog can do this because of a change in the smell of your breath. Of course, this isn’t a natural ability for every animal, but most can be trained to do it.

7. Prevent Allergies In Children
While it may not be able to help you now, having a dog as a child can set you up for a much healthier future. If you were around animals from a very young age, you would have been exposed to many different allergens. It used to be thought that this would increase your chances of developing allergies, but, these days, we understand that it actually does the opposite. Having animals around the house can also improve your immune system, so you’ll get sick less often.


It’s not difficult to find a reason to adopt a four-legged friend, but, if you’re in need of one, then look no further than your own health.



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1 comment:

  1. Interesting bit on the allergies! I have pet allergies but I never had a cat or dog growing up.

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