5 Ways Adopting a Dog Benefits Your Health
Today is National Dog Day…….You may be wondering why All American Healthcare is posting a Blog about dogs. Well those of us who own pets know they make us happy. But a growing body of scientific research is showing that our pets can also make us healthy, or healthier. Along with eating right, exercising and seeing your Chiropractor, maybe adopting a Dog should be on your health to do list. – All American Healthcare Hammond
Ask any pet owner and they can tell you all the ways their pet has improved their life better — but there are many ways a pet can actually improve your health in ways you would never expect!
When illness or injury strikes, the road to recovery is often paved with medications and therapies, in addition to a healthy diet, physical activity and plenty of TLC. Healing is serious business, and you must be kind to your body when it needs you most. But what helps us heal is not always sold over-the-counter, nor is it always available in the produce aisle. Sometimes it is asleep at the foot of the bed, begging for a treat, licking your face or running circles around your yard. I’m speaking, of course, about the power of dogs.
- Pets Reduce Stress & Depression
Research shows that individuals suffering from an illness who had pets were less likely to suffer from depression than those with out.
It also shows that individuals with high blood pressure who adopted a cat or dog saw lower blood pressure in subsequent stressful situations! In only 15 minutes with your furry pet your body undergoes physical changes that dramatically reduce stress and improve your mood!
Playing with pets helps to increase your levels of serotonin and dopamine, which improve your mood, and can help to reduce levels of harmful chemicals that are increased when your stressed, like cortisol and norepinephrine, which can increase your chances for illness.
2. Pets Are Good For Your Heart
Individuals who suffered from heart attacks with pets lived longer than those with out pets. Men with pets have a lower risk of heart disease and people with cats over their lifetime actually have a 40% lower risk of dying of a heart attack. Pets have also been shown to help decrease hypertension, cholesterol and blood pressure.
3. Pets Help The Elderly
Owning a pet offers the elderly companionship and love and decreases loneliness. It also provides the opportunity for exercise, which can positively benefit individuals with illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and in the prevention of osteoporosis. In addition, doctors encourage their arthritis patients to watch their cats and stretch each time their cat does — this helps owners to remember to stretch and helps to relieve pain! Research also suggests that Alzheimer’s patients have less anxiety outbursts when they had pets!
4. Pets Reduce Obesity
Dog owners tend to be more physically active and physically fit than non-dog owners! So take Fido for a walk in the sun (or the cold) today! You can also include your pet into your exercise routine: consider lifting your cat (carefully) instead of a dumbell, signing up for a doga (dog and people yoga) class or shine a flashlight on the wall for your cat while you use your elliptical.
5. Pets Change your Life
Simply put, having a dog changes your life. These furry co-dependents fill our lives with meaning, and can teach us about love, loyalty and companionship. Despite their sometimes frenetic nature, dogs have a particular serenity about them. They are keenly in tune with human emotion at times of loss, strife, illness or other challenges, and may experience some of these same profound feelings themselves. Animal behaviorists note that dogs “mourn” in their own way, sleeping more, eating less and moving slower after long periods of time away from those they are bonded to, human or canine. And anyone lucky enough to love a dog can tell you about their profound ability not only to sympathize, but to help heal; it is no coincidence that dogs are brought into hospitals and rehabilitation centers to make people feel better, physically and spiritually.
Taking care of a dog can be challenging at times, and losing a pet is pure, unadulterated heartbreak. But the positives of letting a dog into your life far outweigh any potential negatives. It allows children and adults to put aside their troubles, if only for a few minutes, to take care of another. While this is not a dog’s intended purpose, it is a happy byproduct – just one of many.