10 Science Based Benefits of Having a Dog

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Dogs are a joy to have and can bring much happiness into your life. They can also bring many health benefits too! Just petting a dog lowers blood pressure, heart rate, slows breathing and relaxes tense muscles. Researchers at Washington State University found that even 10 minutes of petting reduces cortisol, a stress hormone.

1. Lower Blood Pressure

People who own dogs tend to have lower systolic blood pressure (the top number of your heart rate) than those without pets. Playing with a dog or other pet elevates levels of serotonin and dopamine which help calm you down and lower your triglycerides and cholesterol, and also releases the cuddle hormone oxytocin.

Studies have also found that pet owners have less cardiovascular reactivity during stressful situations. In one study, those with borderline hypertension who adopted a dog experienced significant declines in their systolic blood pressure.

2. Reduced Risk of Heart Disease

Several studies have shown that people with dogs have lower cholesterol and blood pressure. They also have a lower sympathetic response to stress and are 31% less likely to die from heart disease. The reason for this may be that dog owners get more exercise by walking their pets, especially those with hunting breeds like retrievers.

Petting your dog releases the natural oxytocin drug in your body, known as “the love hormone” for its calming effects. It limits the release of cortisol, which is a stressor. Understanding and addressing infectious diseases in canine and feline practice is fundamental for veterinary professionals and pet owners.

3. Reduced Risk of Depression

Dogs provide a sense of responsibility and routine, which is known to reduce depression. Additionally, they make people smile and encourage exercise. For example, dogs love to go for walks, which means their owners get regular aerobic exercise.

Snuggling up to a dog, or simply petting them, releases the hormone oxytocin. This is often described as the “natural love drug,” which lowers blood pressure and heart rate and calms tense muscles.

Research also shows that people with pets feel more socially connected to their communities and are more likely to make friends. This is especially true for seniors.

4. Reduced Risk of Asthma

Research has shown that owning a dog promotes an active lifestyle through daily walks, playtime, and other activities. This helps reduce blood pressure, lower heart rates and improves recovery from cardiovascular problems.

A study published this month in JAMA Pediatrics found that children who grow up with dogs have a 15% lower risk of developing asthma than those without pets. Researchers think that frolicking with a pooch early in life exposes kids to more diverse microbes, helping them build up an immune system better equipped to fight off allergies and asthma later in life.

5. Reduced Risk of Diabetes

Having a dog can reduce your risk of diabetes by encouraging exercise. Studies show that dog owners are more active than people without dogs. Walking your dog is a great way to get some exercise.

Petting a dog triggers the release of oxytocin, known as the “cuddle hormone.” This innate bonding response can help you feel more relaxed. Having a dog may also help you meet new people. According to a study by Pet Wingman, people swipe right more often on dating apps when their photo includes a dog.

6. Increased Immune System

Having a dog forces you to get out and exercise, which is good for your heart. Studies show that people who own dogs walk 1.6 times as much per week as those without pets.

When you touch, play with or look into your pet’s eyes, it releases oxytocin into your body, which boosts your immune system. This is why babies and young children who grow up with pets have stronger immune systems. They also experience fewer allergies. Researchers believe that this is because the extra microbes boosts the maturation of their immune systems.

7. Increased Serotonin Levels

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Get a dog and your loneliness will disappear.” Dogs give their owners companionship, unconditional love, and support.

Just the act of petting a pet triggers an increase in the hormone oxytocin. This helps reduce stress levels and lowers cortisol.

Researchers at Purdue University found that military veterans with PTSD had better physiological and psychological responses when their service dogs were present. Dogs also inspire us to get out and socialize, helping reduce feelings of loneliness. They may even help you live longer.

8. Reduced Risk of Cancer

Research has shown that dogs can sniff out various forms of cancer. There have been several stories of dogs licking and sniffing a suspicious mole on their owners and saving them from cancer.

Dogs can also be great companions for people who live alone and help with the feeling of loneliness. In addition, they can make us feel happier and more relaxed. They can even boost our immune system, so we spend less time getting sick and have higher survival rates after heart attacks. They can also provide us with exercise and give us unconditional love.

9. Increased Self-Esteem

This one may seem a little “duh,” but dogs can help boost self-esteem in their owners. This is mainly due to the fact that dogs are a source of unconditional love.

They also give their owners a sense of purpose through the responsibilities of caregiving, which makes them feel valued and important in their lives.

In addition, people with dogs have less low self-esteem and tend to be happier overall than those without them. So, if you’re thinking about getting a dog, do it! You’ll thank yourself later.

10. Increased Socialization

While owning a dog comes with some responsibility, it also brings you an endless supply of love and companionship. But what you may not know is that your furry friend could actually be making you healthier.

Studies have shown that people who own dogs visit the doctor less often and spend fewer days at home sick. They also have a stronger immune system and recover faster from sickness. Plus, dogs make great social lubricants and can help you meet new people. They’re a natural conversation starter on walks and at the park!

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