Dogs: How Our Furry Friends Are Good for Our Health

Dogs: How Our Furry Friends Are Good for Our Health

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” — Josh Billings

They welcome us home with wagging tails and ready to play, loving us loyally and unconditionally no matter what kind of day we’ve had — it’s no wonder they say that dogs are a man’s (and a woman’s) best friend!

But did you know that our four-legged friends are so much more than just cuddly companions and directly contribute to getting — and keeping — us healthy?

Dogs have traditionally been used to assist with various human health issues such as acting as guide dogs for the visually impaired or therapy dogs for those struggling with mental wellness. However, an increasing body of scientific evidence is demonstrating that dogs are good for all of us, regardless of health status.

From lowering blood pressure to expanding social circles, a canine companion is good for nearly every aspect of human health:

  1. Dogs can help boost our immune systems: People who have dogs are less likely to develop allergies, and recent studies show that dogs contribute to a stronger immune system.
  2. Dogs can help enhance our moods: Dogs are a calming presence, and being around their sweet and silly dispositions results in increased serotonin production, the chemical responsible for making us feel happy and keeping anxiety and depression at bay. Research is also showing that dogs are capable of picking up on human emotions and oftentimes respond accordingly.
  3. Dogs help stave off heart disease: Playing with pups reduces cortisol levels in our systems, which in turn lowers blood pressure and cholesterol — two of the main culprits of cardiovascular disease.
  4. Dogs keep us active: This one is clearly my favorite! People who have dogs tend to be more active since part of being a dog owner means having to walk them regularly. Even a daily 30-minute walk with your workout buddy ensures the minimum health recommendation for healthy physical activity.
  5. Dogs keep us social: Dog owners tend to gravitate towards other dog owners. Whether full-fledged members of a canine society or simply strolling with our furry friends through our neighborhoods, dogs have a funny way of bringing us humans together.

So whatever your reason for having a dog (or perhaps wanting to get one!), please remember that these fur balls are just as good for us as we are for them — truly making them our best friends.

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