The benefits of owning a dog stretch beyond having a companion and friend. In fact, having a dog could aid in your overall wellness. We’re thankful for dogs and all the work they do.
Owning a dog comes with a long list of benefits and some of those concern your wellness. We’ve compiled a list of these health benefits to illustrate how every dog puts a little more good into the world.
1. Physical health and wellness
Inevitably, having a dog means doing and moving more. Most dogs are adamant about squeezing in a walk, run, or game of fetch. Throughout their lives, you will be responsible for letting your dog out regularly every day. Puppies as young as six months need to be let out as regularly as every six hours. While this may seem like extra work, your dog forcing you to integrate this added movement is crucial to your physical health.
America’s Health Ranking cites movement as “a vital element of a healthy lifestyle” that is able to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer. Something as simple and routine as walking your dog can help to strengthen your bones, muscles, and improve your balance and coordination.
Some might think of this added movement as burdensome, but in a society that is becoming increasingly sedentary, going for a walk, run, or bathroom break could make a crucial difference in your life.
2. Emotional wellness
Part of what fascinates humans with dogs is what they teach us. Dogs are attentive, loving, and perceptive—they’re our best friends who offer unconditional support day after day. When you have a difficult day, your dog is there for you. When you’re celebrating, your dog is there, too.
While some dogs are trained and employed to be service dogs your dog is able to provide similar and personal companionship to you. Harvard Health Publishing details how dogs’ calming effect on humans also appears to help people handle stress.
If you’re struggling with mental illness or disability, you can talk to a medical professional about whether a psychiatric service dog or emotional support dog (ESA) might be an option to help what is ailing you. ESA dogs support their owners through companionship that can help ease anxiety, depression, and certain phobias. Their capabilities stretch beyond a domesticated pet because of their training.
Regardless of which type of dog is the right fit for you, a dog’s companionship can be invaluable to helping owners deal with the struggles of their day to today.
3. Improved social life
Just like humans, dogs have public places they like to socialize. This likely means they’ve taken their owner along with them. While your dog is busy making new friends at the local dog park, you can do the same.
A study conducted in four cities by four universities found pet owners were 60% more likely than non-pet owners to get to know people in their neighborhood they had not met before.
If you find it difficult to make conversation, having a pet can help stymie this difficulty by giving you a point of conversation and bonding with other dog owners. Even if someone doesn’t own a dog, they’ll likely have some connection to dogs that will allow for natural conversation.
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