As a dog owner, it’s always comforting to know that Chip is healthy, but it’s also comforting to know that she may be assisting in my health. I’ve got to admit that I drop the ball a lot and don’t walk her as much as I should but having that adorable face stare at me with huge puppy eyes never fails to make me pick up the lead and go.
A study conducted by Queen’s University Belfast, published in the British Journal of Health Psychology in 2007, concludes that “dogs can have prophylactic and therapeutic value for people.”
There have been medical studies conducted worldwide that add to this study. It has been found that having a canine companion encourages better health, boosts the life expectancy of the owners, reduces blood pressure in owners and creates improved cardiovascular health, as well as maintains weight.
It’s no doubt that these physical benefits, and more, arise from the increased physical activity that a pup brings into an owners life, through walking and exercising them (so they’ll stop destroying your house and driving you insane!), but it is also said that dogs bring in other, nonphysical health benefits.
Studies have also found that dog owners enjoy a higher self-esteem and less depression. It was said in the previous post that the unique bond between human and canine is caused by a neurotransmitting hormone called Oxytocin that increases feelings of happiness and trust, showing that owning a dog has profound effects on mood and mental health.
Psychologists at Miami University and St. Louis University found that a friendship with a dog could be equal to a human friendship, factoring in depression, loneliness, illness, self-esteem, and activity levels. Many of the dog owning participants showed greater overall results than those participants without a dog.
Dogs have been known to be such great companions, they can now be found as employees in many stressful or depressing environments, such as schools, hospitals, prisons, nursing homes, and courtrooms. They are used as emotional supports, stress relievers or just good mates.
So there you go. Maybe dogs deserve more credit than we give them? They’re not just cute, fluffy things that give great cuddles, but also manage to leave so much slobber all over us. They’re amazing emotional supports, naggy exercise instigators, and friends who happen to be keeping our health in check.
They’re not just cute, fluffy things that give great cuddles, but also manage to leave their slobber all over us. They’re amazing emotional supports who will always be there for us; they’re naggy exercise instigators who won’t rest until they get walked; but most importantly, they’re our best friends who happen to be keeping our health in check.