If those lovable little faces and cuddles on the couch weren’t enough to sell you on owning a dog, it’s time to reconsider a trip to the Humane Society. “Woof woof” never sounded so good because it turns out that our little (or big) wet nosed friends can actually improve our health. Here are 5 reasons why you should consider making Fido part of the family:
- Heart Health: Studies show that dog owners actually have better heart health. Ownership is linked to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, all three of which are connected to better cardiovascular health. And dog owners that do suffer heart attacks have even have faster recovery times and outcomes than non-dog owners.
- Exercise: Walking a dog, playing fetch, etc are ways that dogs can make working out fun. Most of the time we don’t even think of these activities as “exercise.” Who doesn’t love exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise?
- Increased Social Connections: If you own a dog, you probably already know this. It’s very common for dog owners to strike up conversations with other dog owners and even dogless strangers. If someone asks us about our special companion, we’re typically eager to gush about our four-legged friend.
- Reduced Stress and Depression: There’s a good reason why dogs are called man’s best friend. Even just a few minutes with a dog can lower anxiety and reduce blood pressure levels. In fact, spending time with a dog can increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, two neurochemicals that impact one’s ability to feel calm and experience happiness. Additionally, dog ownership reduces loneliness and provides meaning and purpose for the owner.
- Reduction of Child Allergies: According to a 2004 study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, having a dog (or cat) in the home actually lowers a child’s chance of becoming allergic to pets by up to 33 percent and in general helps strengthen their tiny immune systems.