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Why Having a Dog is Good For Your Health

Dogs not only bring joy to our lives, but current research finds that having a dog is good for our health and overall well-being. There are constant studies analyzing the human/dog bond and provided below are many reasons and explanations as to why canines are essential for our lives!

Physical Exercise Increases

The older we get, the less we tend to move around, and sometimes physical exertion can be dreadful. We tend to gain weight, our joints start to ache and getting around isn’t as easy as it once was. We also find it hard to make the time to get ourselves to the gym or even simply walking. However, recent studies have proven that dog owners are not only more active, but they experience better overall wellbeing. Dog owners  too, tend to not feel that they are exercising when they take their dogs for a walk, rather they felt like they were fulfilling a responsibility to the dog they were walking. This is also very true for careers associated with dog walking, running or dog care in general!

Prevents Social Isolation

If you want to be less lonely or become more social – get a dog. Recent studies have shown that owning a dog leads to greater levels of interaction between people. This interaction leads to the development of friendships, connects social support networks and also results in decreased feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Reduces Anxiety and Pain

Owners often worry about reducing anxiety in dogs, and ironically, dogs can reduce anxiety in people. More studies on dog and owner relationship, found that positive interaction between humans and their dog(s) results in decreased feelings of anxiety and worry. This is largely found to be the result of decreased stress hormone levels and increased dopamine and oxytocin levels. Oxytocin plays an important role in our ability to manage pain and our thresholds. Patients a study of this were less reliant on pain medication while undergoing animal based therapies.

Keeps You Safe

Studies have shown that barking dogs help deter burglaries and other violent attacks. With heightened senses of hearing and smell, dogs can detect things you can’t and alert you to possible danger. A dogs’ natural instinct is often to protect their home and family – something that can be annoying when the mailman comes to the door but useful if someone more nefarious comes around. 

Dogs in the Workplace Lower Stress Levels

If you’re lucky enough to work for a company that allows dogs in the workplace, then you are not only benefiting from extra time with a dog during the day, but you are also benefiting from decreased workplace stress, according to some studies. One study found that the presence of dogs in the workplace resulted in employees who felt less stressed and more satisfied with their job. So, the next time you go to an office, pitch this or other benefits of having a dog around to your boss (can’t hurt)!

Reduction of PTSD Symptoms

Numerous studies have focused on the ability of dogs to help those with PTSD to cope with the anxiety, disorientation, and depression that come along with PTSD. These studies have found that dogs are beneficial to soldiers and veterans suffering from PTSD because they provide a companionship that can be trusted. Even non-therapy dogs can offer the benefit of stress and anxiety reduction and panic attack episodes. 

#7 Health Improvement for the Elderly 

In addition to health benefits of having a dog around children and adults, studies have found that seniors who owned pets and were receiving Medicare benefits were less likely to make contact with their doctor than their non-pet-owning counterparts. This study also noted that dogs were particularly beneficial to senior citizens when compared to cats(haha). Other studies have found that the companionship of dogs reduces the incidence of emotional outbursts and aggression in Alzheimer’s patients.

Less Frequent Sickness

Love them as we do, our dogs are covered in germs and they bring those germs into our home… it’s okay if you’re thinking of your toddler right now too! Now, researchers are saying that when these germs come into your home they increase the diversity of germs that you and your family are exposed to which helps to build up your immunity. For this reason, people with dogs get sick much less often than those without!

Increased Empathy

One study found that children (between the ages 7 to 12) who were attached to a pet were more compassionate and more positive towards animals. In turn, these feelings led to an increased feeling of well-being for dogs and children both. This study also noted a possible correlation between a dog’s ability to help children to regulate their emotions by being able to “trigger and respond to attachment-related behavior.” 

Dog Owners Are Happier and Live Longer!

Not surprising to most pet owners, you’ll be happier with you have a pet at home and in turn, you’ll make the animal happier too. Positive interaction (from 5 to 24 mins. in duration) between dogs and people result in an increase in dopamine levels in the brain in both humans and dogs. Dopamine is one of the neurotransmitters that play an important role in feelings of happiness and low levels of dopamine have been associated with depression. It also may seem like a “no-brainer” about the health benefits of having a dog, but some studies have the data to back up these claims. In fact, one study found that dog-owners who survived a heart attack were more likely to live through the following year than their non-dog-owning counterparts! The same study found that people who live alone with a dog are 35% less likely to die from myocardial infarction and 28% less likely to die of a ischemic stroke than someone living alone without a dog.

About Walk’n Dogs – A Dog Walking Company | College Park Orlando, FL

Rachel has been working in the Pet Care Industry for the last few years and started her career in a local Canine Health & Fitness Center that also incorporated canine hydrotherapy, dog daycare & boarding. While working at Rocky’s Retreat, under the previous ownership of Sherri Cappabianca and Toby Gass, Rachel became certified in canine hydrotherapy and they taught her everything she knows about canine care, hydrotherapy, health and fitness.

Rachel is currently the owner/founder of Dip’n Dogs Canine Hydrotherapy and Walk’n Dogs – A Dog Walking Service in the Orlando, FL area. Dip’n Dogs provides water therapy for dogs with any orthopedic condition, degenerative disease, injury or obesity. Walk’n Dogs provides in-home visits for dog walking, pet sitting, pet taxi and pet errands. Each service is customized to fit each dog and their needs. Rachel caters to the Winter Park, Baldwin Park, Maitland and Casselberry areas.

Rachel is also the owner and dog mom to her two beagles, Leo and Lola.

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