Pet parents will readily admit that their lives are enriched by sharing them with a canine companion. Their pooch is a confidante, good company when they’re feeling a bit lonely, and always glad to see them at the end of the workday.
There are other benefits to having a four-legged companion. A recent study in Sweden investigated the link between animal exposure and the development of asthma. It found that exposure to dogs during the first year of life was associated with a 13% lower risk of asthma when a child was six years old. This backs up a previous study in Finland where children were closely monitored for a full year from birth. The study showed that respiratory infections and ear infections were less frequent in homes that had dogs than in homes without them.
Dogs are more than just man’s best friend. Take a look at some of the other health benefits of canine companionship:
If you have a dog, you need to exercise him. A study by Michigan State University showed that pet parents were more active than those who didn’t have a dog. The University of Virginia found that this trend continued in teenagers. These findings suggest that a pooch could be a good method to get your teens away from their mobile screens and video games, and encourage them into the great outdoors.
Assist with Recovery
A 2014 study by Loyola University found that animal therapy reduced the amount of pain medication needed after joint replacement surgery. The National Institute of Health demonstrated that after a heart attack, survival rates after the first 12 months were greater for pet parents than for dog-free individuals. Perhaps a prescription for a pet could be included in the discharge instructions.
If you stroke a pooch, it results in a reduction in blood pressure as well as lower levels of stress hormones in the blood. Dogs are helpful for soldiers who have returned from tours of duty and are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Friendly canines have also been used to reduce stress in times of disaster such as the Boston Marathon bombing and school shootings.
It has been shown that people with Alzheimer’s disease have less depression and anxiety when they have a canine companion. They are more likely to interact socially because they have to go out and walk their pooch. A dog’s regular care needs such as feeding, bathing and brushing also give their pet parents a sense of purpose. It is important that if a person has a dog, that they are given help to care for them if needed. It is possible that they may not be capable of looking after a dog, but they can still benefit greatly from visits by a therapy pet.
Many people are lonely and find it difficult to meet new friends. It’s hard not to interact with people when you are walking a good-looking dog down the street. If you go to a dog park, you are more than likely to meet the same group of people at the same time each day. This leads to firm friendships and even marriages.
There is no doubt many more benefits of dog companionship to both mind and body. How has your health and well-being been improved by sharing your life with a pooch? Please share with the rest of the LovePets community in the comments below.