8 Health Benefits Of Dog Ownership

It is an almost unqualified fact that humans and dogs share an inextricable bond. Archaeological evidences suggests that dogs were the first animals to be domesticated by humans in order to assist our earliest ancestors in their hunter-gathering efforts. It was a relationship initially constructed along a rationale of mutual benefit: Pups were provided room and board in exchange for their keen olfactory sense in sniffing out prey.

Over centuries, the relationship between man and dog developed further. Slowly, but surely, the more primitive species of wolf became less profligate, while dogs propagated further under the protection of their human comrades. In many ways, evolution has “hardwired” mankind to associate with dogs in ways that uniquely benefits each species. Biology itself suggests this, as both humans and dogs experience a release of the hormone oxytocin when they look each other in the eyes.

In contemporary times, dogs remained as embedded in the human psyche as ever. Very often, dogs become essential members of the household, welcome additions to the human family. They are popularized in culture through profuse amounts of media, including movies, radio, podcasts, books. We cannot, it seems, get enough of our furry friends.

Apart from being staunch companions, dogs also serve to bolster the overall health of their owners in myriad ways. In this article, we’ll review the ways in which dogs are instrumental to imbuing the lives of their owners with an improved sense of well-being, both physically and emotionally.

Dogs Are Irresistible

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Who isn’t attempted to hug a puppy upon first encounter? They’re adorable. Fat, unsure paws; sloppily wet black or pink noises; gleefully lolling tongues; inquisitive, sparkling eyes; breath untarnished by future prowls through the garbage. They radiate joy, sprite little rascals that want nothing more than to devour attention and wreak mischievous havoc.

Moreover, their cherubic faces are organized along what scientists refer to as an “infant schema.” We’re therefore preternaturally inclined to don our paternal or maternal templates and correspondingly treat our pups as we would an infant. Science says it, so it must be true: Dogs and their humans were meant to be together.

Must Love Dogs

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Dogs are innately social creatures. They’re herd animals, deeply connected to whomever they perceive as their “pack.” They enjoy companionship as much as we do. This amiable quality, along with many others, makes pups invariably well-suited attention-grabbers.

In several studies, for example, men were found to be more likely to receive a women’s telephone number in the presence of their furry pal. Other studies have suggested that dog-owners are generally perceived as more attractive to members of the opposite than those without dogs.

Thus, not only are dogs profound friends, they’re also highly capable wing-men.  

Social Sallies

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For those of us who are ostensibly introverted, dogs can be effective catalysts in forming relationships. If your dog is eager to go outdoors and explore, it’s only natural for you to explore with him during his misadventures.

Dogs act as natural connective agents, dulling apprehensions about new encounters. Research has concluded that roughly 40% of dog owners have a more successful time in establishing new relationships. Proximity to a dog, additionally, enlivens their owners to the value of their varied human relationships.

When your pup is assiduously pleading for a casual stroll through your neighborhood, don’t therefore castigate him for his enthusiasm. You may end up enjoying it as much as him, meeting several new folks along the way.

Forever Young

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If you feel your hair thinning, or your remaining hair follicles turning a dour shade of grey, it may be time to invest in a pup. It is an unfortunate reality of life that we all age, even in spite of the advance of cosmetic surgery.

Multiple studies have suggested that dog therapy facilitates cognitive improvements among the infirm and those suffering from mental illness. It also has proven to alleviate irritation and anxiety in seniors suffering from dementia and other terminal illnesses.

In a very empirical way, dogs are adamant about protecting their humans from harm. While our whims and moods constantly fluctuate, dogs remain steadfast in their duty to improve our overall welfare.

Facilitates Maturation

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For those of a younger disposition, wrestling with the responsibility of caring for another life invests them with a surer sense of a maturation. Dogs possess the temperament of youngsters and require the same necessities: care, food, daily activities, fecal and urinary excretion, medical salves for ongoing maladies.

Asking your children to assist in the obligation of adequately caring for an animal imbues them with a profound sense of responsibility. It allows them to take ownership of a very significant task and reap the consequent rewards.

Cardio Canines

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Though many dogs are fireballs of energy, their presence nevertheless offers a sobering effect to their human counterparts, diminishing levels of pronounced stress and depression. This mitigating effect may, in fact, be a result of our canine’s restlessness, as it then becomes incumbent upon their owners to participate in walks, runs, or long hikes in conjunction with their pets. Owning a dog banishes us from any self-imposed isolation we might seek; and venture outside.

The cardiovascular activity precipitated by being a diligent dog owner, additionally, has myriad physical health benefits. In 2013, the AHA asserted that being a pet parent “[was} a reasonable strategy for reducing heart disease risk.” The cardiovascular activity that dog ownership entails can be instrumental in reducing warning signs of a heart episode, most pertinently in markedly lowering high blood pressure.

A Purpose-Driven Life

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Owning a dog facilitates a sense of structure in one’s life. In being attentive to your pup, providing for him, caring for him, displaying affection toward him; it then becomes inconsonant for you to improperly take care of yourself.  

Especially for seniors, who often lose the sense of purpose they once had when they were parenting or employed, dogs can offer a reliable bench-marker for organizing the day. It becomes difficult to descend into outright apathy if another living creature is relying on you for their sustenance and survival.

Improves Mindfulness

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“Mindfulness” is a nebulous term, but to me, it’s a matter of centering oneself in the moment. Hectic days, sleepless nights, burdensome stressors, often excite people into confounding states of malaise, paranoia, and “future-tripping.” With all of the petulant variables revolving around our lives, it can be challenging to appreciate the whimsies and delights of any given day.

I’m a proud owner of an Australian Shepherd, Spud – Like a potato. Similar to most herding dogs, Spud’s a dynamo of enthusiasm. He does not run, so much as bound, hopping happily to and fro, to and fro, through the grass, along the sidewalk, or skirting the street. His docked tail is concealed by wafts of obdurate ass-hair, so he instead displays his happiness by inveterately wiggling his butt in exaggerated motions. Sometimes, I let him off-leash, if we’re in an unregulated area, and he’ll prowl the fields, flashing his snout back toward me every so often, keeping track of my movements, his hazel eyes alight with profuse delight. After his inquisitiveness expires, he’ll trot back to me, 40 pounds of red-white fluff, his tongue hanging languidly from his mouth. He’s a content camper.

Observing my pup, viewing his euphoria, if euphoria is what we can call it, is its own mindfulness practice. Seeing my pup entertaining himself, exalting in the most fatuous of things; diminishes my own overweening problems temporarily, endows me with proper perspective, and fills me with gratitude. The word dog is “God” spelled backward for a reason, for they do stir the latent godliness within all of us.

For further information on personal well-being, reference the following articles:

5 Best Settings for Meditation

Lessons On Life: Motivational John Wooden Quotes