Health Personal Development & Wellness

5 Health Benefits of Owning a Dog

It is no surprise to dog owners that our furry friends are good for us! From unconditional love to endless cuddles, owning a four-legged friend can enhance our lives in so many ways. Not only are dogs great friends that provide companionship, love and loyalty, they can also have significant health benefits for their owners. Here are five ways that owning a dog can improve your health.

1. Reducing Stress and Anxiety

Spending time with your dog can help lower cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, and increase oxytocin, a hormone associated with bonding and relaxation. The simple act of petting your dog can have a calming effect and help you feel more relaxed and at ease.

2. Increasing Physical Activity

Dogs need daily physical activity to stay healthy, which can provide you with the motivation you need to get up and move. Studies show that dog owners are more likely to meet the recommended daily physical activity guidelines, which can have numerous health benefits, including reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

hand holding puppy on leash
Photo: Josh Hild

3. Boosting Mood and Fighting Depression

Owning a dog can provide a sense of purpose, reduce feelings of loneliness, and increase feelings of happiness and joy. Spending time with a dog has been shown to increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, two neurotransmitters associated with feelings of pleasure and happiness.

4. Improving Heart Health

Many dog owners have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels compared to those who don’t own dogs. The act of petting a dog has also been shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure. Additionally, dog owners are more likely to engage in heart-healthy behaviors, such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.

5. Providing Social Support

Dogs can help facilitate social interactions and provide opportunities for socializing and building connections. This is especially important for people who live alone or have limited social support. Daily dog walking and taking your dog to the dog park provides plenty of opportunities for social and community interactions that are good for us and our furry friends.

While becoming a dog owner can be great for your health, if you’re considering getting a dog, make sure you are ready for the commitment and responsibility that comes with pet ownership. But if you’re up for the challenge, the rewards of owning a dog can be significant for both you and your new best friend.

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Want more? Click here for 5 Lessons You Can Learn from Your Dog