Estimated Read Time: 4 ½ minutes
Summary: In this blog, we learn all about the personal, mental and physical health benefits of having a dog, and whether being a pet parent to a dog can improve your life… even extend it! Read on to discover what the benefits are to dog ownership…
“Dogs make me happy!” Well, we here at Petlab Co. aren’t surprised to hear that. With a host of us in the team pet owners ourselves, we have an abundance of office doggies that bring us joy every day, so we’re the biggest advocates for dog ownership.
But, how can being a pet parent benefit your life, wellbeing and health? In fact, being a dog owner can actually help extend your life’s length! How amazing is that? Let’s take a look at the multiple ways having a dog can benefit you…
A study published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality & Outcomes has claimed that owning a dog could improve your cardiovascular health and may even help you live longer.
Researchers at Uppsala University studied Swedish residents age 40-85 years who had experienced a stroke or a heart attack between 2001-2012. The study concluded that those who’d endured a heart attack who lived alone were 33% less likely to die if they were dog owners, and those who’d been through a stroke and lived alone were 27% less likely to pass on if they had a doggy companion.
A separate set of data published in the same journal backs up these claims. A data set involving 3.8 million people, drawn from 10 different studies, was analysed and researchers concluded that dog owners were 65% less likely to die after surviving a heart attack!
Professors theorised that this was probably due to an increase in physical activity because of owning a dog, and a decrease in social isolation. Dog owners are nearly 4 times more likely to meet national daily recommended activity guidelines than those who are pupless, according to this study from the UK. Those with a dog, on average, walk 200 more minutes a week than those without.
And then, a comprehensive review of research published between 1950 and 2019 via the American Heart Association found that those who owned dogs generally had a lower risk of death. That’s because these studies point to dog owners having lower blood pressure levels and healthier stress responses.
According to a study in Japan, they discovered that time spent gazing into the eyes of a dog has a large effect on the levels of oxytocin produced by the body. Oxytocin is a hormone and neurotransmitter popularly coined as “the love hormone!”
Biologists Miho Nagasawa and Takefumi Kikusui found that when a person looked into their dog’s eyes for longer than 2.5 minutes, their levels of oxytocin rose by 20% - compared to when they looked into the eyes for 45 seconds or less!
Dog’s are also proven natural mood boosters. According to a study conducted in 2017, originally published in JMIR Mental Health, those living with HIV/AIDS were less likely to develop depression if they owned a fur baby!
And, it’s common knowledge that dogs reduce loneliness. The Human Animal Bond Research Institute hosted a survey for both pet parents and non-pet parents in America, which resulted in 85% of respondents agreeing that interacting with pets reduces the feeling of isolation. We’re sure you’ll agree, being lonely is a miserable feeling…
According to the Purdue University College Of Veterinary Medicine, military veterans with PTSD recover better when aided by the company of a service dog. Their symptoms are reduced and they seem to cope with their situation better than those without a service dog. But, serious issues like PTSD aside, multiple studies have proven that both service dogs and regular dogs can help us feel less stressed and anxious.
Washington State University scientists found that just 10 minutes of petting dog can help lower your blood pressure, reduce your heart rate, relax your muscles and rate of breathing. The major stress hormone cortisol was measured in the participants and post petting a dog, their levels of this hormone were noticeably reduced.
The above benefits are undoubtably amazing and thus may be tempting you to make room for a new four-legged friend…but, it's important to assess whether you have the time to take care of a dog properly before committing to adopting. Dogs should only go to homes where there is an abundance of patience and love, enough time to exercise, play and socialise with them, and an existing basic knowledge of canine care to ensure that a doggy will have a good life.
Learn about the essentials a dog needs here. Next, learn about the importance of dog hygiene here. And then, read our tips for a first-time dog owner here to help you solidify if dog ownership is 100% right for you and your home.