Over the years, hundreds of scientific studies have been conducted to find out if spending time with canines has health benefits for people. It turns out science agrees that dogs are man's best friend, and for more reasons than one. The amount of health benefits dog owners get just from spending time with their pet is astounding. Consider just a few reasons owning a dog is really, really good for you:
Dogs Can Lower the Risk of Asthma
One study, conducted in 2015 by JAMA pediatrics, asked the question, "Does early exposure to dogs and farm animals reduce the risk of asthma in children?" Their conclusion? And we quote, "the data support the hypothesis that exposure to dogs and farm animals during the first year of life reduces the risk of asthma in children at age 6 years." Impressive! And good to know for anyone who is planning a family.
Owning a Pet is Good for Your Heart
This scientific statement reports the results of another study that focused on pets and their effect on cardiovascular disease. Interestingly, the study drew the conclusion that "Pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, is probably associated with decreased cardiovascular disease risk". Another win for dog owners! Spending time with your furry best friend is can go a long way towards heart health.
Dogs are a Stress Buffer
In this study, researchers proved that dogs can actually reduce stress, lowering cortisol levels in children experiencing a stressor. The study concludes, "The results support the notion that pet dogs can provide socio-emotional benefits for children via stress buffering." Most dog owners would agree that after spending a few minutes petting or interacting with a dog, it's not uncommon to feel more relaxed than when you started. Other studies have seen the same stress reducing results in adults leading to the advent of bring-your-dog-to-work events and therapy dogs.
Dogs Owners are More Active
Time and again researchers have proven that dog owners are more active than people with no pets. Some of the latest studies have shown that dog owners spend about half an hour more each day in some form of physical activity than people without pets. Dog owners also tend to get a little physical activity in even on cold, rainy or snowy days. That small amount of daily physical activity (for example, taking a walk with your dog) has multiple good effects, lowering stress levels even more, keeping the risk of heart disease to a minimum and even improving your love life.
These are just a few of the scientifically proven ways that owning a dog can improve your health. There are countless studies out there about the effects of dog ownership on physical, mental and emotional health. And while the results are fascinating, let's face it - you don't need to be a scientist to know that life is way better with a dog!