Most of us melt at the sight of a puppy, and those YouTube videos of dogs doing the mannequin challenge are just too much cuteness to handle. It’s no surprise, then, that there are proven health benefits to humans co-existing with dogs. After all, they’re not called man’s best friend for no reason…
Here are just a handful of benefits you can glean from being a dog owner:
1. They improve your mood.
Research shows that playing with your pooch for just 15 to 30 minutes can bring you down from feeling stressed to a calm, relaxed state. Plus, pup interaction raises humans’ brain levels of dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters that are tied to tranquility and happiness.
2. Pups can be better than medication.
According to a 2004 study by the British Journal of Health, dog owners have shown to have fewer medical problems than non-pet owners, and dog owners, on average, suffer fewer heart attacks, lower blood pressure, and lower cholesterol than the dog-less.
3. They keep you on the move.
Dogs encourage their owners to walk more often than non-dog owners would. In fact, dog owners are 34% more likely to get in their recommended amount of steps per week than non-dog owners. (Turns out all that low-impact walking is good for the both of you!)
4. They sniff out disease.
Dogs have a ridiculously strong sense of smell, and that schnoz can be used to great benefit. They can often smell when their owners have cancer, and can also be trained to sense if their owner is about to have a seizure. Talk about a good reason to keep Fido close.
5. They can help prevent allergies.
If you grew up in a house with a dog, consider yourself lucky: you’ll be less likely to develop allergies over the course of your life (including the development of eczema).
6. They can make the workday less stressful.
Studies show that those who interact with a dog while working have lower stress levels. Plus, bringing a pet to work forces employees to take more breaks to walk the dog, which is something all office workers should be doing anyway, leaving them feeling more energized when they re-focus on their work.
If you’re convinced that dog ownership is for you, consider rescuing one of the many pups in our country that need a home. Petfinder.com, an online, nationwide portal that connects to more than 15,000 adoption groups, can be a great place to explore different dog adoption organizations in your area.