Dogs are extraordinary animals that offer more than just unconditional love and companionship. They have the remarkable ability to positively influence our health and happiness. Extensive research has demonstrated the wide array of physical, emotional, and mental advantages that dogs can provide to their owners. Join us as we will explore the extraordinary ways in which dogs contribute to enhancing our overall well-being.
What are the incredible ways dogs add value to our health and happiness?
Dogs are known to be loyal and affectionate companions. Having a furry friend by our side can help combat loneliness and feelings of isolation, especially for those living alone.
Stress and Anxiety:
Studies have shown that petting a dog helps reduce stress by releasing feel-good hormones, such as serotonin and oxytocin, which lower blood pressure and heart rate. Owning a dog also helps reduce anxiety and boost our mood.
Dog owners are more likely to engage in physical activity, as dogs require daily walks and exercise. This increase in physical activity leads to better cardiovascular health, lower levels of obesity, and a decrease in chronic diseases. (For more information about staying fit and active, CLICK HERE.)
Sense of Purpose:
Dogs provide us with a daily motivation and contribute to the organization and purpose in our lives. Their reliance on us for care and affection necessitates that we dedicate time to nourish, groom, exercise, and shower them with affection. (For greater insights on finding a purpose that gives meaning to life, CLICK HERE.)
Positive Influence on Children:
Children who learn to care for their family dog often establish a sense of responsibility and commitment to another living thing. This process helps them develop the essential traits and life skills required to grow into fully functioning and healthy adults.
Dogs play a crucial role as social facilitators, helping their owners connect with new individuals. They serve as fantastic icebreakers, fostering conversations and interactions. These social engagements not only expand our social network but also contribute to our overall positive mental health.
Security and Protection:
Dogs instinctively want to protect their homes and loved ones. They serve to alert us to unusual occurrences in and around the home and against impending intruders. Highly trained watchdogs can serve as an ideal “home security system” against imminent danger.
Assistance in Therapy:
Dogs have become increasingly popular in therapy. They help patients feel more relaxed and at ease, and their presence can make therapy sessions more effective. Dogs have been particularly helpful for patients with PTSD, anxiety, and depression. (For additional insights on finding your good place, CLICK HERE.)
Unconditional Love and Affection:
Lastly, owning a dog provides us with unconditional love and affection that can’t be replicated. They offer a listening ear, a warm embrace, and a wagging tail that brightens even our darkest days.
Is owning a dog the right choice for you?
Not everyone is suitable for dog ownership. There may be various reasons why it may not be the right time for you or why a dog might not be the ideal pet for you. However, if you decide to get a dog, it is important to make a wise choice, love them wholeheartedly, and provide them with proper training. By doing so, your dog will bring immense happiness, love, security, and well-being into your life.
Written by: Patricia K. Flanigan, Smart Strategies for Successful Living
Patricia K. Flanigan is a vibrant and passionate advocate for quality living and aging. She has dedicated over 28 years to working in higher education, but now enjoys a more peaceful lifestyle as the founding director and writer of Smart Strategies for Successful Living. In her free-time, she cherishes spending quality time with her family and friends, as well as getting out into nature with her beloved Samoyed dog, Wylie. Patricia loves helping others age gracefully and shares her wisdom through her content to promote the ultimate success in living.
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Source: NIH News in Health
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Source: Bark & Gold
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Source: American Kennel Club
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Source: Smart Strategies for Successful Living