Dogs are famously man’s best friend, but they offer much more than cuddles and companion-ship. Bringing a dog into your life has an array of tangible health benefits, both mental and physical.
#1 Helps You Get Fit
Perhaps the biggest lifestyle change associated with dog ownership is the walks. Some dogs (like bulldogs and greyhounds) are bigger couch potatoes than others, but every breed will need to be walked at least once a day. Active breeds like huskies will require even more than that, and the walks can be long, sometimes over an hour. Some owners even take their dog on hikes or runs, and it’s not unknown for a pooch to gallop alongside a bicycle!
This, of course, brings huge health benefits. If you lead a fairly sedentary life or work a job that doesn’t involve much physical activity, taking a dog for walks can change your life. Improved fitness, cardiovascular function and fat burn are just some of the benefits. You won’t be able to forgo the exercise, either, because your dog will let you know when it’s time to move.
#2 Decreases Anxiety
Any pet will improve your mental health, especially if you suffer from anxiety. The presence of an animal is calming, and the companionship of a loyal dog is second to none. Simply petting a dog has been shown to lower anxiety levels. The effect is so pronounced that some hospitals even employ therapy dogs to soothe their patients and ease stress.
Of course, this relationship works both ways and it’s your duty to look after the health of the dog. That involves finding a vet to take care of their needs and paying for things like vaccinations and microchips. Getting your dog checked over regularly at a quality vet like easyvet.com will help both you and your pet. Vets can catch problems early before they get a chance to develop, so you won’t have the anxiety of worrying about your furry friend’s health.
#3 Help You Sleep
Insomnia isn’t just an isolated problem. It’s often the root cause of other conditions including depression, heart disease and even obesity. Recent studies show that sleeping in the same room as a dog (even if the dog moves around and makes a noise in the night) can dramatically improve your quality of sleep.
Not just that, but the presence of the dog can actually help you drift off faster and more easily. The precise mechanism for this isn’t fully understood but is likely linked to the increased feelings of safety and security associated with having a pet nearby.
#4 Lower Blood Pressure
Given the other health benefits on this list, it should come as no surprise that there’s a link between dog ownership and lower blood pressure. Increased levels of exercise, coupled with the calming effect of owning a dog, help to decrease blood pressure, but studies have revealed an even more intriguing link.
Dog owners are clinically proven to exhibit a lesser stress response than those who don’t have pets.
This means that their stress levels don’t rise as much during difficult situations and return to normal much faster. That, of course, means lower blood pressure and an overall healthier outlook on life.