I just spent the last half hour playing with my dog, and I realized my mood significantly increased from earlier on in the day. I don't know how anyone could resist a smile as my dog, a ball of energy, runs and bounces throughout my house, or when she cuddles on the couch and looks up at you with those big, brown eyes. Whenever we enter the house, she jumps up and greets us with her little tail wagging, even if we were gone for only a minute to grab something out of the car. She is loyal to her core and full of love, eager to give and receive. It made me realize, there are definitely health benefits to owning a dog.
Just playing with my dog acts as a mood elevator
. No one makes me laugh as much as my dog does when she's running circles around me. How can something so happy and full of energy, not make you feel the same way?!
I also find owning a dog to be a stress reliever
. In a 2002 study at State University of New York at Buffalo, researchers found that when conducting a stressful task, people experienced less stress when their pets were with them, as opposed to when a spouse, family member or friend was nearby. With the decrease of stress, there is also the decrease of blood pressure and other health risks.
Sometimes I just need to sit on the couch and relax with my dog curled up next to me, ready to relax with me (and be pet of course). It's soothing to have a nonjudgmental companion by your side while you are stressing over life's downfalls.
Dogs also combat loneliness
. As well as acting as a friend, dogs also teach people how to form relationships with others. Dogs epitomize the qualities of a true friend: loyalty, compassion, affection and love. Dogs also teach us how to react to body language, since they can't communicate to us verbally. Picking up non-verbal cues is an important aspect of interacting with others.
Dogs also increase opportunities for socialization
; whenever I bring my dog out with me, people always stop me in order to pet her and talk about our mutual love for dogs. I also can't really avoid people when walking with her because she feels the need to greet everyone who passes by.
Owning a dog can increase your activity
, too. Whether it's to throw a ball around or for a walk around the neighborhood, dogs encourage you to get up and move, which is beneficial to you and your pet. They help create regularity and structure in your daily routine.
For families with children, dogs can help children develop
. By creating a personal connection with their dog, children feel more confidant and able to express themselves to others. Owning a pet also teaches responsibility
and caring for someone besides themselves.
Dogs also help people be more emotionally aware
. Animals, especially dogs, react to their environments. They can react to the emotions you are portraying and can act as a portrait of yourself.
Clearly, I'm a huge fan of being a dog owner and of the unconditional love that dogs offer us.
Are you a dog owner? Do you agree with these statements? What are some other health benefits of owning a dog?