I love dogs. I’m telling you, it’s pretty bad.
I’m surprised my husband still gets in the car with me after I’ve commented on almost every. single. dog. that we pass.
And for some reason, commercials with dogs really effect me. I cry at dog food commercials, some Subaru commercial that shows a dog throughout different stages of his life, and don’t even get me started on the pet rescue commercials with that Sarah McLachlan song playing in the background.
I know, I tend to get a bit ridiculous, but can you blame me?
I mean, aside from loving us unconditionally and showing us the best “welcome home,” anyone could ever ask for, dogs can literally save lives.
I kid you not.
Keep reading to find out the many different ways dogs make us healthier.
1) Stress Less, Pet a Dog
Did you know the simple act of petting your dog lowers blood pressure?
Not only that, but the University of Missouri-Columbia’s research suggests that “the hormonal changes that occur when humans and dogs interact could help people cope with depression and certain stress-related disorders.”
Spending a few minutes loving on your mutt releases serotonin and oxytocin, a couple of the hormones responsible for picking up your mood.
Additionally, pampering your pooch lowers your levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
A study conducted on stockbrokers, taking meds for high blood pressure, were split up into two groups. One group adopted a dog and the other group didn’t. Six months down the road, the group with a pet, showed a noticeable difference in their response to stressful situations.
Social support experts theorize that “positive feeling states may enhance an individual’s capacity to adapt to stress.”
2) I Heart My Dog
Doggies can easily melt our hearts, but that’s not the only way they can affect the ole ticker.
According to the American Heart Association, having a dog around can lower your chances of developing cardiovascular disease.
On top of that, researchers found dog owners were more likely to survive a heart attack, than non-dog owners. Also, heart attack patients owning a dog were 8 times more likely to live longer, than those without a fur child.
3) Many Dogs Can Rat Out Cancer
Get this craziness. This woman found some weird mole on her leg, and apparently her dog fixated on it. The dog continuously sniffed the mole, even trying to bite the humdinger right off her leg at one point.
After that, the woman went in to get it checked out. And you know what? That peculiar mole turned out to be malignant melanoma!
How incredible is that?
Skin cancer is one of many cancers dogs are able to detect. Other forms include bladder, prostate, lung, breast, colon as well as ovarian cancer.
Dogs typically smell either urine or breath samples of the patient (poor dogs). They can even sniff out cancer when it’s at stage 0, aka in situ. This is, of course, beneficial because the earlier it’s detected, the easier it is to treat.
4) Man’s Best Friend is Man’s Live-In Exercise Buddy
Fido needs fitness.
In order to get our lil tail-waggers some exercise, we usually take them for a walk, right? Therefore, YOU are taking a walk, which gets your beautiful booty up and off the couch.
As it turns out, the majority of dog owners get the recommended minimum 30 minutes of exercise a day. That’s an hour more than what the American Heart Association suggests as a weekly minimum to help prevent cardiovascular disease and stroke. Whoohoo!
5) Dogs Give Our Immune Systems a Swift Kick in the Pants
If you’re a germaphobe, you probably won’t enjoy reading this tidbit of information:-)
Just in case you didn’t know though, doggies are dirty. Yup, germs are all over their furry little bodies.
But that’s actually a good thing! When you are exposed to the bacteria they bring into the house, your immune system gets stronger. As a result, the bod is more likely to fight off illnesses in the future.
So don’t hesitate to give that dog of yours a nice long belly rub…Then turn around and go make dinner without washing your hands.
C’mon, it’s good for you!
6) Dogs Run Sneezy and Wheezy Out of the House
I know, it’s not uncommon for people to be allergic to dogs. At the same time, the University of California San Francisco published an article stating, “Children’s risk for developing allergies and asthma is reduced when they are exposed in early infancy to a dog in the household.”
Scientists also discovered when babies grew up with a dog in the house, they were less likely to develop eczema later on in life. Just one more reason you should get a dog. Now.
Ok. If you can’t go today, tomorrow works too.
7) Dogs Break the Ice Like a Boss
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone up to a stranger and asked to pet their dog. I’ve even seen one of my favorite breeds (I love english mastiff’s) out for a walk while driving, and actually pulled over to go pet her.
Alan Beck, ScD, director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University states, “If I saw you walking down the street, I couldn’t comfortably start talking to you if I didn’t know you, but I could if you had a dog,” He goes on to say, “It’s an acceptable interaction that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.”
Even though my examples had nothing to do with me wanting to talk to the owner, more than half of the time, we chit chatted for a minute as I gushed over her dog. Conversations also happen at the dog park while the poochies are hard at play, or when walking your mongrel and you run into another dog mom.
Our darling doggies help us branch out instead of staying inside our safe, yet boring bubble. So go take a fitness class designed for both you and your dog. Or if you’re single, join a pet lovers dating site (Yup, they exist).
I mean, you never know, you could meet your new BFF or even the man of your dreams.
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