Dogs are wonderful companions, and they make a wonderful addition to any household. Provided you don’t suffer from any hair or fur allergies; dogs are also fantastically useful in preserving your wellbeing. How? In this article, we are going to tell you some of the reasons why.
Here are a number of reasons why owning a dog can seriously benefit your health.
Dogs motivate you into exercise
We all know the health benefits of exercise, but how many of us partake in a little bit of keep-fit on a regular basis? If you are prone to laziness and sofa gymnastics (lifting the remote control), then owning a dog can give you the motivation you need. Your dog needs walking on a regular basis, not only for their health and fitness but for those regular toilet trips too (don’t forget the poop bags). So, even if you really can’t be bothered to lift yourself from your armchair, your dog will tell you otherwise. You need no other motivation to get outside, and while you won’t always feel like it, you will still feel the health benefits that regular exercise provides.
Dogs reduce feelings of loneliness
If you live alone or are a stay-at-home mom with kids at school, a dog makes for a wonderful companion. No longer will you be returning home to an empty house, as your dog will always be waiting for you to return. Jumping up at you with glad eyes, he will be as excited to see you as you are to see him, and those feelings of loneliness will fade away. Of course, your dog can’t fulfill all of your social needs (see our next point), but at least your dog won’t be as judgmental or as fickle as some of your friends.
Dogs can improve your social life
Your dog is a great companion, but he isn’t so great at holding down a decent conversation. There are times when you need to have a little bit of human companionship, but thankfully, your dog can help you in this capacity. By walking your dog, you are going to meet a lot of other people, whether you like it or not. Invariably, these people will be walking their dogs too, so while your pooch cozies up to another canine for a sniff and a play, you will meet the canine’s owner for a sniff and a… sorry chat and a gossip. According to Hollywood, romances have started this way – Must Love Dogs springs to mind – so if you’re still single, your luck may be in! In any case, romance or not, we all need social interaction, as this can work wonders on our mental health, which leads us nicely onto the next point.
Dogs can reduce your stress levels
Regular exercise with your dog can bring down your serotonin levels, thus reducing feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. However, the experts say the same is also true when just hanging out with your dog, whether its at home or outside. Dogs have a calming effect and can reduce your blood pressure simply by ‘being’ alongside you. Of course, the reverse can be true, especially when you come home to discover a chewed up furniture leg or an unpleasant deposit on the floor, but a little bit of dog training should solve those issues.
Dogs add meaning to your life
Owning a dog is a serious business, and they need to be at the center of your focus. From walking to feeding them, you will have reason to get up in the morning, as well as having a timetable for your day. This is great for those people who suffer from a lack of purpose, such as the long-term unemployed or those who have past retirement. Again, there will be an improvement in mental health as a result of this, as the dog reminds you that you have somebody else to take care of other than yourself.
Dogs can detect diseases
While a dog is no substitute for a doctor, they can still sniff out a range of medical conditions through their incredible sense of smell. The experts are still unsure of the exact intricacies of this, but researchers believe it has something to do with the change in our hormone levels. Dog owners have reported a change in their dog’s behaviour, which has alerted them to possible dangers. This includes restless behaviour and prolonged whining. Of course, if your dog does this, it may be because they are desperate for the loo, but you should still see your doctor if you think your dog has detected something you previously hadn’t.
Dogs increase mobility
If you have fallen prey to an injury, or suffer from arthritis in your joints, walking a dog can improve your mobility and strengthen weakened areas. You will need to pace yourself, of course, but a short walk each day will certainly help, especially when you are in need of motivation when the pain takes over. However, see your doctor or physiotherapist for further advice, ensuring you don’t overdo it, no matter your dog’s enthusiasm.
Dogs provide protection
Finally, dogs are wonderful at protecting you and your property. While there are the physical dangers from having an intruder enter your premises, there is also the peace of mind knowing that your dog is standing guard. There are the obvious health benefits in both cases. Still, you may need to remind your dog that the postman offers no threat, unless they come armed with yet another utility bill!
Paws for thought
If you don’t have a dog yet, and our article has convinced you it’s time to pick up a canine companion, head over to Puppy Joy classifieds to find something suitable for sale. For both your physical and mental health needs, your dog is a prepackaged furry remedy, ready and willing to care for your wellbeing. If you do have a dog, let us know how they have benefitted your health; those times when you have been feeling a little woof around the edges.