How can dogs positively affect your life and contribute to a better well-being? To some the question may seem obvious, but to those bearing uncertainty: The rationale is in fact limitless!
Owning a dog:
- Improves self esteem
- Provides valuable companionship
- Reduces everyday stress
- Helps improve circulatory & cardiovascular health
- Encourages exercise
- Provides a sense of self-worth
Dogs Improve Self Image
Improved Self Esteem
People who live alone, often lacking in the ways of companionship and basic human contact, tend to become introverted and thus keep to themselves more often than others. However, recent studies from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology published a study that suggests dogs provide us with meaningful support.
Since dogs provide that sense of companionship, people who own pets are less fearful and more extroverted than those who don’t.
Dogs are ‘pack’ animals, most comfortable when surrounded by others, whether dogs or people, they consider being members of their family unit. They are social animals, providing that basic human need for companionship.
In other words, dogs want to be around us, to socialize with us! Those who own dogs are never really alone, always needed to provide compassion and support for their furry little animal-children!
Stress is our body’s way of responding to threat or certain demands. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevents “Social interaction of humans and dogs may also lead to increased oxytocin levels in both the human and the dog. Interacting with a friendly dog also reduces cortisol levels most likely through oxytocin release, which attenuates physiologic responses to stress.”
This is due to the fact that dogs are always there for us, never judging, a constant companion during those tough times of uncertainty. They provide comfort in moments of sadness and a solid pillar of affection to combat insecurity. A dog’s unconditional love makes him the ideal support system during times of stress!
Dogs Promote a Healthy Lifestyle
Believe it or not, studies show that dog owners, as a whole, walk more often, enjoy a more active lifestyle, help fight depression and are just plain healthier than those who are not pet caretakers. Why is this, you ask?
Caring for a pet dog carries many responsibilities, one of which is exercise. Keeping a dog at a healthy weight can be tricky. Because they no longer need to expend the levels of energy required to hunt, lack or a productive environment can be damaging to a dog’s health.
Most suggest at least one walk a day, along with other playtime activities. Do you have a fenced in yard to allow your pup freedom to play around unrestricted?
Help Stabilize Blood Pressure
Believe it or not, studies show that owning a pet can actually reduce your blood pressure! The companionship and devotion a dog offers helps to not only reduce stress, but actually promote healthy activities. In turn, this helps to improve cardiovascular health (especially since the mere act of walking your dog is cardio)!
Improve Social Life
Have you ever seen a dog perform impressive tricks? Maybe you’ve simply engaged in dog related conversations with other pet owners, or possibly met likeminded people while out walking your dog. People love to talk about their dogs; the possibilities are endless!
Dog tricks in general, even the more advanced ones, really aren’t very difficult to teach for those who know how to go about it. Even better- they are impressive, fantastic conversation starters!
Some of the more impressive and eye catching tricks you might consider researching are:
- Upright walk
- Ride Skateboard
- Consecutive hurdles
Assist the Disabled
Because dogs can carry things with their mouths, and maintain the intelligence to learn new skills, they can be fantastic assets to disabled, blind, elderly, deaf, and otherwise restricted individuals! In fact, service dogs are highly skilled and thoroughly trained animals meant to assist in these very tasks.
Service dogs have been trained to assist:
- The disabled
- Visually impaired
- Hearing impaired
- Mentally ill
- Mobility restricted
- Seizure Sufferers
- Retrieve objects
- & more!
The Unbelievable Things Dogs Can Do
Stories exist of dogs dialing 911 to alert medical servicemen to their owner’s condition, dogs who pushed people out of the path of oncoming vehicles, alerted owners to house fires, confronted dangerous animals in defense of owners, found missing children, located deadly explosives that would have caused the deaths of countless humans by mere sense of smell, rescued drowning victims…
The list is endless! Dogs are highly intelligent, emotional creatures capable of assisting humans in innumerable ways. They truly are man’s best friend and capable of being our most valuable asset.