They’re cute and cuddly, although a huge responsibility a dog can also be very beneficial to your family. Sure pet ownership has its challenges but it is all worth it when love is reciprocated with an over abundance of licks, wags and pure adoration.  They truly live up to their title as “Man’s Best Friend” in more ways then one. While it is true that dog’s dish out tons of unconditional love and loyalty, they also provide real health benefits to their care takers. Here are a few benefits:

1. Low Blood Pressure. Dog owners have lower blood pressure. Several studies have shown that the simple act of stroking a dog can reduce blood pressure. More recent studies have found that these effects continue throughout the day when people are away from their dog as well. Dog owners cope with stress better and lowered blood pressure is a result of that relationship between a dog and his human.

2. Low Cholesterol. Dog owners have lower cholesterol levels than non-dog owners. They are at less risk of developing heart disease or other cardiovascular problems. In fact, studies show that dog owners overall are healthier than the general population. This can be partially explained by regular walks with the family dog.

3. Happier & Less Grumpy. Dog owners are happier in general. Your pup can turn any frown upside down. It hard to be sad when you look into those puppy eyes. Dog ownership has been shown to reduce loneliness and fight depression in their owners. When people are not lonely and depressed they are happier. Dogs can cause happiness in humans, in part, by causing the release of endorphins in the brain, which are natural anti-depressants produced by the human body. With this increase in mental health, quality of life is increased respectively.

4. Live Longer. Dog owners live longer. Because dog owners cope with stress better and do not suffer from depression as often; they are more likely to live longer. While being happy will not heal a person it can keep them from becoming ill in the first place. Pets provide companionship, healthy relationships and become topics of conversation which aid in social interactions with others. Dogs also increase self esteem and cause humans to feel more compassion for others. All of these factors combined have a dramatically positive effect on the day to day happiness of dog owners.

5. Higher Survival Rates. Dog owners have higher survival rates after serious illness. Some studies have shown that heart attack patients with dogs are twice as likely to be alive one year after their heart attack than their no-dog owning peers. Some experts even believe that dogs affect survival rates to a greater extent than friends or family members. This is most likely explained by the patient’s desire to get better because they feel they need to in order to care for their dog.

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