The animals that are professionally trained, like dogs for the blind offers too many benefits to the people who own them. However, even an average dog can provide various benefits that are related to physical and mental health for their owners. Dogs can reduce stress, ease loneliness as well as depression and anxiety, encourage playfulness; it can also provide companionship for elderly adults. Most importantly, a dog can also add some joy to any person's existence.

Dogs Can Help Improve Your Health and Well-being

Owning a dog can improve your overall health and well-being. Dogs, more than other animals have grown to become fond of humans and relate to human behavior as well as emotions. Dogs are able to understand the words that humans use along with interpretation of voice tone, gestures and body language. Like any other friend, a loyal dog can look into your eyes and understand your emotional state to a great extent.

While most owners are clear about the joys that come along by sharing their lives with pets, most people are yet unaware of the mental and physical health that comes along by snuggling your pet dog. It is only seen recently that studies have proven scientifically that the bond of animal and human tends to show huge benefits. People who have pets have longer life and lesser risk of heart diseases as well.

Benefits of Owning a Dog

Benefits of Owning a Dog –What Multiple Studies Have Found:

Many studies have shown the following benefits of owning a dog:

  • People who own dogs have less chances of suffering from depression as compared to those without pets.
  • People with dogs have lower blood pressure as compared to those who do not own any pets. Studies have shown that people with borderline hypertension when adopted dogs, showed declines in blood pressure within a few days.
  • Serotonin and dopamine levels can shoot by playing with a dog, which can calm the senses completely.
  • People who own pets have lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Patients who have suffered a heart attack and have pets tend to survive longer as compared to the ones who do not have pets.
  • People who are above 65 years of age and have pets tend to visit less to the doctor as compared to those who do not have pets.

One of the primary reasons why any pet dogs render therapeutic effects is that they help in fulfilling the basic need of a human that is touch. Even the criminals who were in prison tend to show certain positive behavior after they were kept in the company of dogs or other pets. Hugging, stroking or touching any animal can soothe or calm when a person is anxious or stressed completely.

A pet's companionship can ease loneliness and dogs are a stimulus for exercise that can boost the mood and ease depression as well.

Owning a Dog Can Help You Establish Healthy Lifestyle Modifications

Consciously or unconsciously, owning a pet dog leads to a healthier lifestyle. Choosing to lead a healthy lifestyle can play an important role in easing anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)and stress. Caring for a dog can help you in making the following lifestyle changes.

  • Dogs can Help Increase Your Exercise Time: Taking a dog to walk or run is a rewarding and fun way to engage in daily exercise. Various studies have shown that those who own dogs often meet their daily requirements of exercise and this proves to be beneficial for animals as well. It will eventually foster your relationship with the dogs, help in getting rid of problems in behavior of dogs and keep them healthy as well.
  • Dogs Provide Companionship: Your friendship with the dog can add years to your life and prevent illness as well. Caring for a pet animal can make you feel wanted and needed, which may set your mind away from the problems that you are facing.
  • Dogs Help In New Life Interactions: Dogs can act as social lubricants for all those who own them and this can help you in maintaining new relations with people. While taking the dogs for walks, the owners often stop and talk to people as they pass by.
  • Dogs can Help You Reduce Your Anxiety: Sharing space with a dog can grant comfort, build self confidence and ease anxiety as well. As dogs believe in living in the moment, they do not worry about the things that happened the previous day or the ones that are going to happen tomorrow. Instead, they help you in staying calm and live in the present moment.
  • Pet Dogs add Structure To Your Every Day Life: Dogs need feeding and exercise at regular intervals. When this routine is maintained, it can keep the dog calm and balanced- this might work for you too. No matter how low you feel, one look at your dog and you will rush to take care of the pet's daily needs.
  • Dogs can Help You Get Relief From Stress: Stress can be quickly managed by movement and touch. Blood pressure lowers when you stroke a dog and it can make you feel less stressed as well as calm.

Owning a Dog – Pet Dogs Can Help you Lose Weight

One of the benefits of owning a dog is that it can help you lose weight. Various studies have been linked to owning a dog and weight loss.

  • A study showed that walking an overweight dog has helped the animal as well as its owner to lose weight. Dogs can prove to be the best buddy for exercising without any bad influences as well as in greater consistency.
  • Housing residents who took their therapy dogs for five days a week, 20 minutes lost 14 pounds without any change in the diet.
  • Another study found that people who owned a dog walked 30 minutes more than before.

Pet Dogs and The Health Advantages for Older Adults

There are many health benefits of owning a dog when you have older adults present at home. As well as providing fundamental comradeship, owning a dog can facilitate healthy aging.

  • Assist in finding joy and meaning in life. As a person ages, he or she loses things that used to occupy the time in all the activities. One may retire from the job or the kids may move away. Caring for your pet can boost your optimism, morale and self-importance.
  • Stay connected. As you grow older, it becomes difficult to maintain the social network. Relocation, death, illness and retirement can take your family members as well as close friends away.
  • Boosts vitality. You can triumph over all the challenges that come along with aging. Dogs encourage exercise, playfulness, laughter in greater degrees as compared to cats. This can help in increasing your energy and boosting the immune system as well.

Pet Dogs and Adults with Dementia or Alzheimer's Disease

There are many benefits of owning a dog when you have adults with Alzheimer's disease or Dementia present at home. Sufferers of Alzheimer's may show various behavioral problems and most of them are related to their inability to deal with stress.

  • Alzheimer's patients who have a cat or a dog at home tend to suffer less anxiety and stress outbursts.
  • Dogs can grant a nonverbal and positive communication. The interaction and the touch from a trained dog can soothe the patients and decrease their aggressiveness.
  • In most cases, the behavioral problem with the patient may be his or her response to stress of a caretaker. Pets can help in easing the stress to a great extent.

There are many programs available for the senior citizens who wish to adopt a senior cat or dog and it can subsidize the fees of adoption as well as medical care.

Owning a Dog - Pet Dogs And The Health Advantages For Kids

There are many benefits of owning a dog when you have children present at home. Children who grow up with dogs are less prone to asthma and allergies along with learning compassion, responsibility as well as empathy.

  • Pets do not criticize or give orders. They are loving and their presence can imbibe a sense of security in the home. Having a dog can help in easing anxiety due to separation in children when their parents are not around.
  • The companionship and love of a dog can make a child feel special as well as aid in developing a positive image as well.
  • Kids who have an emotional attachment with the dog know to build strong relations with other people.
  • There are studies which show the ability of dogs in calming aggressive or hyperactive kids. For this, both the child and the dog must be trained to behave well with each other.

Adults and children, both can immensely benefit by playing with the dogs. They can aid relaxation and calmness in the brain as well as body. A child opens doorway for learning when he or she is playing with a dog. Kids can be taught the importance of perseverance by training the dog.

Owning a Dog – Dogs and Children With Learning Disability and Other Challenges

There are multiple advantages of owning a pet dog when you have a disabled child or a child with autism present at home. Children who have difficulty in learning or are suffering from autism will be able to develop interaction with pets rather than people. Nonverbal means of communication are often used by autistic children, which is similar to the dogs. Learning to connect with the dog may help a child in developing a strong interaction with other people.

  • Pets can be of great help to kids who have disabilities in learning and calm themselves by regulating stress. They can help them in being equipped and overcome the challenges of the disorder as well.
  • When you play and exercise with a dog, a child will be able to stay attentive and alert throughout the day. It can also turn out to be a stress buster and relieve excess frustration and anxiety that can be caused by the disability to learn.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: June 28, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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