7 Ways Having A Dog Can Improve Your Health

Almost everyone would agree that having a dog is a lot of fun. After all, who can resist smiling when you are greeting with tail wags and sloppy kisses! But did you know that having a dog as a companion animal in your household can actually improve your health? Here are seven scientifically proven health benefits to owning a dog:

One – Decreased Risk of Heart Disease
High blood pressure is a definite risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease. Studies show blood pressure readings are lowered by talking to and petting your dog. 

Two – Recover More Quickly From Illness
Even if you do develop heart disease, research shows dog owners who had heart attacks were two times more likely to recover than non dog owners.

Three – Your Dog Might Detect Cancer Early
Although this research is in the early stages, dogs do appear to be able to detect cancer in humans through their superior sense of smell.

Four – Your Children Will Miss Less School
It’s true! Children from families who have a dog in the household miss less school than those from homes without dogs. Research shows that children who were part of a family that had a dog in the child’s first year of life were less likely to develop asthma by age six than those children from households who did not have a dog. 

Five – Dogs Encourage Physical Fitness
Your dog needs exercise and so do you! Turns out that because dog owners are responsible for their dog’s health, they get exercise as well when they are out walking their dogs. Everybody benefits.

Six – Protect Your Children Against Allergies
If your child is at risk for developing eczema (an allergic skin condition), research finds that having a dog in the household lowers that risk if a dog is present in the household in the infant’s first year of life.

Seven – Stress Reduction
Petting and stroking your dog can stimulate the release of the hormone oxytocin, the bonding or ‘“love hormone.” This stimulates the brain and lowers stress levels. 

Need we say more?! Now you have seven science backed reasons to get a dog.

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By Ellen Britt

Dr. Ellen Britt has loved dogs since she was a child. She is particularly fond of the Northern breeds, especially Alaskan Malamutes. Ellen worked as a PA in Emergency and Occupational Medicine for two decades and holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in biology.

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