Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Health Benefits of Dog Ownership


The Health Benefits of Dog Ownership Coming home to the unconditional love of their beloved pet can be the highlight of many dog owners’ days: Owning a pet can boost your mood, make you feel loved and love in return, and ensure that you are as well-exercised as your four legged friend, thanks to a regular regime of twice daily walks. Whilst the physical health benefits of dog ownership are well documented, there are a myriad of additional emotional and mental benefits to owning your own four legged companion. Here are just some of the surprising health benefits of dog ownership:

Dog Ownership Can Reduce Allergies
 
Many families, particularly families with young children, choose not to own dogs because they have an unfair reputation for either causing or exacerbating allergies, particularly asthma and other allergies related to air quality. However, this is actually a case of misinformation, and serves a disservice to dogs: according to research conducted by pediatrician James E. Gern from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, owning a pet during childhood can actually lower a child’s likelihood to related allergies by as much as 33 percent. Children who are exposed to dogs regularly in their infant hood are also less likely to suffer from eczema. In fact, for families with otherwise healthy children, there are many benefits related with introducing a dog to your family unit. Children exposed early on to animals, such as dogs, within their homes tend to develop stronger lifelong immune systems overall. What better reason to get your kids that dog they keep asking for?

Dog Ownership Can Improve Mental Health
 
Dogs are well known for giving their owners a level of unconditional love that can be incredibly heart-warming. Dog ownership can also provide individuals with a sense of purpose, and companionship when you are feeling alone in the world. All of these individual aspects combine to ensure that dog ownership can be particularly good for improving mental health, especially amongst individuals suffering from depression or anxiety disorders, or those recovering from issues such as long term physical or mental illness, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Several studies have conclude that just being with a healthy and jovial companion pet relieves depression and anxiety and boost immunity. The power of dog ownership, and the company of dogs, is so important in treating many mental health conditions (including loneliness and depression) that Animal-assisted Therapy (AAT) or Pet-facilitated Therapy (PFT) are becoming increasingly popular treatment options, focusing on paring individuals in need of support with a highly trained animal that can help to improve their mood and aid their rehabilitation.

Dog Ownership Will Keep You Active
 
One of the most widely researched and reported aspects of dog ownership is the benefits that it can have on your physical health. Dog owners tend to be slimmer, fitter, and exercise more. It’s no wonder, when you consider that research has found that dog owners walked for an average of 300 minutes per week, compared with non-dog owners, who only walked for an average of 168 minutes per week. Children who own dogs are also more likely to engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity than their peers who do not own dogs. Whilst dog ownership doesn’t force you outside come rain or shine, dog ownership promotes walking and getting outside for some fresh air unlike any other activity. The fact is, when you love your dog their needs come first: that means long walks whatever the weather and playing fetch for hours, even when it’s raining outside, and this can only benefit your long term physical health.

Dog Ownership Could Improve Your Social Life
 
Dog owners are a social bunch, and this is largely because their beloved pets encourage them to be. Owning a dog is a wonderful way to help individuals to overcome their social shyness, and dogs also tend to make you more approachable. According to one study conducted by Warwick University, in the UK, 40% of dog owners reported that they had made new friends as a direct result of owning their four legged friend. Therefore, if you are lonely and looking for the company of a companion who will never let you down, whilst also encouraging you to get out and meet no people, then there is no better time to get yourself a beloved new dog.

Author Bio: This is an article by Helen Bell

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