How Can Dogs Affect Your Overall health?

Updated: Mar 30

A little over half the population in America owns a dog, and with studies showing that owning a dog can and will boost your overall well being it's no surprise that owning a furry companion is such a popular idea. Dogs can provide a wide range of assistance to people, from assistance dogs for the blind, to people with anxiety, and service dogs who help their owners and protect them when they're in need, along with acting as companions for those who are lonely.

Research shows that having a dog can benefit your physical health. In 2002 researchers found that having a companion dog improves heart health by lowering blood pressure and helps maintain and regulate heart rate in stressful times. Tests were done on two groups of students, one with a dog in the room and the other without while taking a timed test. The group with the dog in the room were less likely to experience the feeling of stress, anxiety, and they made fewer errors. While


the group of kids that took the test without the dog in the room experienced higher stress levels, higher heart rates, and increased blood pressure. In another study, it was shown that having a dog can increase physical activities. Dogs among other pets are in need of a lot of attention and require a good amount of walking and playing. In order for younger and mid-aged

dog owner and his dog out on a walk enjoying life

dogs to let loose of the energy they have its best to go on long walks, along with playing in the yard or going to a park. With this, it allows dog owners to get outside more and do more physical activities even if it is for just 20-25 minutes. The average recommended amount of physical activity for an adult is an average of 5 hours a week of moderate activities, which amounts to roughly an hour a day. In this case both the dog and dog owner benefit.

In America, an estimated 10 million Americans suffer from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc., these are just a select few that are on the rise. A dog can also help with mental health and stability. When petting a dog, it comforts both parties. A hormone is released in the brain called oxytocin which is a relaxing compound that benefits the mind and body. When dealing with depression, people tend to distance themselves, feel worthless, and become sad. With a dog around, they provide companionship and give the sense of security and to a dog the owner will always be enough.

In the end, the results of owning a dog and any other furry friend can reduce unwanted feelings of stress and provide more of a companionship and allow the owner to experience more from physical activities and emotional support.