Dog owners will be the first to scream about the benefits of puppy love, but our fur children can provide more benefits than what was previously thought. While we all know the old adage of dog being man’s best friend, their loyal ways are only scraping the surface of serious improvements they can make to everyone’s life, health and happiness.
They can reduce the risk of Cardiovascular Disease.
According to the American Heart Association, a snuggle a day with your cuddly companion, could keep the doctor away. Research conducted into cardiovascular disease found that having a dog could actually reduce your risk of developing heart problems and can improve survival after an acute coronary syndrome.
They can improve our fitness motivation.
As we all know, our dogs don’t walk themselves, so the benefits of actually having a reason – more important than yourself – to exercise everyday provides vast improvements to your health. Motivation to get outside at least once a day with your four-legged friends, makes you up to 34 percent more likely to achieve your recommended daily exercise goals, than non-dog owners.
They are the best listeners.
It’s no secret that confiding in pets provides some much needed fur therapy, after all, we all need someone to vent to. However, dogs used in animal-assisted therapy, have been linked to reduction in anxiety, pain and depression in people with varied mental and physical health issues. Pet therapy has been used in hospitals and recovery centres for years, in the treatment of patients undergoing chemotherapy, PTSD sufferers and those going through physical therapy.
They can help us get through the tough times.
Pets are also known to lower stress levels, with an activity as simple as petting your dog increasing the levels of oxytocin your brain. Proving that dogs are the best medicine, Miami University has offered the tender loving care of volunteer dogs to students suffering from loss issues, homesickness, stress or anxiety. Students who had access to the dogs during exam times, reported improved feelings of acceptance, love and unqualified affection, as well as lowered production of cortisol – a stress triggered hormone.
They can help us kick bad habits.
While we all know about the effects of second hand smoke on children, little research is done into the effects of this on our fur babies. In a study conducted by a Michigan research team, Pet owners who smoked, were 30 percent more likely to quit, knowing their habits were affecting their pets’ health.
They can act as a warning signal for life-threatening health issues.
Dogs have been used to detect bombs and drugs for years and have also been known to sniff out potentially life threatening health issues such as cancerous tumours. What is incredible though, is our canine friends’ ability to be trained to identify seizures in patients suffering from epilepsy and beyond – aiding in the protection of their humans. These smart little cookies have also been trained to catch traces of nuts before their anaphylactic owner has a potential reaction.
Most of all, dogs will provide the most unwavering and committed love you will ever experience. Treat your dogs with trust and respect and they will follow you to the moon and back, with tails wagging.