Many of you dog lovers already know this: Having a dog makes you feel better. Now numerous studies are confirming with actual proof that dogs are good for our physical and emotional well-being. Not only do dogs make life worth living, they also help us to live longer. In addition to things like sniffing out cancer, here are five reasons why dogs are good for our health:
1. Dogs are good for the heart
A study by the American Heart Association shows that having a dog can reduces your weight as well as your risk for heart disease, including cholesterol levels. The researchers aren’t entirely certain whether healthier people have dogs or that having a dog makes you healthier, but I say, better safe than sorry. An additional study found that dog parents are less likely to die within one year of having a heart attack than those who don’t have a dog.
2. Dogs lower our blood pressure
Researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo discovered that in people already taking medication for hypertension, their blood pressure response to stress was cut by half if they owned a dog. I was especially happy to read this news because my doctor has told me to watch my high blood pressure. I wonder if I would have even lower blood pressure if I had more dogs? Hmm …
3. Dogs help us to be more active
An American Heart Association study found that dog parents engaged in more physical activity than people who didn’t have a dog. This is not surprising to anyone who’s had those big brown eyes plead with you to get up out of that easy chair and go look for squirrels.
4. Petting a dog makes us feel better
Rebecca Johnson, a veterinary medicine professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia, found when humans interacted with dogs, their levels of mood-boosting hormones (serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin) increased. And man’s best friend cannot be replaced. When researchers asked the humans to interact with robotic dogs, their levels of serotonin actually decreased.
5. Dogs increase our self-esteem
Not only do they make us feel better, but they also help us to feel better about ourselves. Researchers from Miami University studied how dog parents are able to shake off social rejection and found that their dogs had a big role in providing social support.
How about you? What health benefits have you found in having a dog? Tell us in the comments.
Read related stories on Dogster:
- File Under “Things We Already Knew” — Study Says Owning a Dog Improves Your Heart Health
- The Proof Is in the Paws: Dogs Help Improve the Workplace
- Be Polite to Your Dog — It Benefits Both of You
- 6 Tips for Running with Your Dog as Exercise
- 5 Ways I Accidentally Exercise With My Dogs
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