Health benefits of being a dog owner: Why puppies really make us smile
by SmartyPants Staff
If you asked anyone on the street what keeps them healthy and happy, you’ll get a slew of answers: Yoga, meditation, Kauai, cookies, spending time with family.
The list goes on and on...
Turns out, you don’t have to fly to the tropics or spend hours practicing the lotus pose to be content - the serenity you seek is but a belly rub away.
In fact, there are some serious health benefits from dog ownership.
Yup, man’s best friend can help you live your best life. From elevating your mood to lowering your blood pressure, your four-legged family members can improve both your mental and physical health.
Here are the health benefits of dog ownership. Now, this calls for a tail wag or two.
Endless shedding. Costly vet bills. Thrice-daily winter walks. Worth it? Woof! (That means yes.) A recent Scientific Report says that dog owners tend to have lower blood pressure, healthier cholesterol levels, a lower risk of heart disease, and fewer heart attacks than their dog-less counterparts.
One possible reason is that dogs “provide social support and motivation for physical activity.” Another reason is that dogs have a calming effect which may lower blood pressure. In fact, simply petting a dog can lower it. How’s that for animal instincts?
GET FIT WITH FIDO
Leave it to your favorite four-legged friend to lick you into shape. According to a study published in the journal Gerontologist, dog walking was associated with “lower body mass index, fewer activities of daily living limitations, fewer doctor visits, and more frequent moderate and vigorous exercise.”
And the best part?
It doesn’t feel like exercise. Instead of begrudgingly lugging yourself to the gym (ugh), you’re just spending time with your best bud. Now, go take a hike…or walk.
We already know that dog ownership is literally good for your heart. But it may also be good for your emotional heart. Interacting with animals has been found to increase human levels of oxytocin, a hormone that enhances social bonding.
And how can it not?
Think about how you feel when you spot a warm, wiggly puppy, complete with oversized paws and soft, floppy ears. (Three words: overcome by emotion.)
Every lick, cuddle, and tail wag makes you feel needed, appreciated, and loved unconditionally.
As a result, dog owners are less likely to feel lonely, and consequently, less likely to suffer from depression. Which is why people with little social interaction, including the elderly, can benefit from the emotional bonds that a dog provides.
Even more amazing is that petting a dog not only ups your oxytocin, but also lowers your cortisol (i.e. the stress hormone).
The takeaway? Owning a dog keeps you happier, less lonely, and less stressed. No wonder we call them man’s best friend.
The results are in: Having a canine companion means you’re more likely to be social, and surprisingly, have more human friendships.
That’s because taking care of someone you love can be pretty powerful. Dogs force you to get out of bed, take walks, interact with others, and lead a less isolated life.
A study published by Plos One found that “companion animals can be a catalyst for several dimensions of human social relationships in neighborhood settings, ranging from incidental social interaction and getting to know people, through to formation of new friendships.”
It makes sense. You often see dog owners chatting with fellow dog walkers, stopping to let kids pet their dog, or carrying a conversation with their neighbors. Dogs are the ultimate ice-breakers!
HERE’S TO YOUR HEALTH - AND THEIRS
Since your precious pup helps keep you healthy and happy, doesn’t he deserve the same?
Luckily, our SmartyPaws daily supplement chews are a good place to start.
*We always recommend consulting with your veterinarian before adding any new supplements to your dog’s diet.
Looks Like You Need a Pick Me Up
Our delicious all-in-one vitamin supplements are packed with the nutrients you need to live the good life.
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