10 Reasons Why Having a Dog is Healthy for Your Family
If you currently have a dog or are thinking about getting a dog, read on for health benefits of having a dog, with 10 reasons why having a dog is healthy for your family.
Adopting a dog is something many people will do in their lifetime.
Some childless or empty nest couples want a dog for the companionship, while families with children will get a dog for their children to care for and to grow up with. Then there are the dog lovers who already have one or more dogs but get another one because they simply want to add another pet to the family!
Regardless of your reasons, dogs can add a lot of happiness and be a real benefit to your family. Dogs will love you unconditionally, always stay by your side, be fiercely loyal, and can also serve as fierce protectors of people and property.
Many dogs are also incredibly intelligent. Nearly everyone has heard of a smart dog quickly picking up on its owner’s daily habits and schedules. Dogs can also provide a sympathetic ear and understanding when you need them nearby for emotional support.
With feeding, grooming, and vet care, dogs can be a lot of work and expense. However, if you are still on the fence about getting a dog, you should also know about all of the health benefits of owning a dog for you and your family.
There are several impressive physical and mental benefits of having a dog. From recognizing certain health problems in their owners, to boosting mood, to encouraging more physical activity, dogs can be a really beneficial member of your family!
10 Reasons Why Having a Dog is Healthy for Your Family
1. Dogs Help You Get More Exercise
One of the most important health benefits of having a dog is a physical one, but it can also help you on a mental and emotional level as well.
Having a dog will really help you get more physical activity and exercise.
Other pets like house cats remain indoors most of the time, using the bathroom in a litter box. Dogs, on the other hand, tend to be more physically active. Most dogs enjoying running and jumping, and need to “do their business”outdoors.
So whether this means you and your kids spending more time in your backyard playing with your dog, or taking them on walks around the neighborhood, you are bound to get more exercise with a dog.
If your life has been too sedentary and you need to get more exercise, dogs are the perfect motivation!
It is good for families physically and mentally to spend quality time together by going on walks and playing outdoors. If you get an older dog, you will need to keep the dog’s health in mind, keeping the walks slower and shorter.
Playing with your dog, and taking it for a walk, are sure fire ways to get some exercise to strengthen your body and mind!
2. Dogs Help to Boost Your Mood
In addition to physical benefits, having a dog can help you mentally as well.
Having a dog can really help to boost your mood.
If you or your child is feeling a little down, you can lift your mood just by spending more time with your dog. Dogs can be incredibly entertaining, funny, and charming.
If you are having a bad day, try taking your dog out for a walk, or just head to your backyard or patio and play with your dog. Even cuddling indoors with your dog can really do a lot to give you a happy feeling.
Studies have even shown that playing with dogs can increase the serotonin levels in your brain. Serotonin is an important natural chemical in your body that can make you feel happier.
3. Dogs Help You Get More Vitamin D
Another health benefit of having a dog is an indirect result of taking your dog outside for walks and potty breaks.
If you are like most people and work indoors, or just spend a lot of time in your house or office, you probably don’t get enough vitamin D. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that has a very wide range of important health benefits for your body.
While you can get a vitamin D supplements to boost your vitamin D levels, the very best source of vitamin D is sunlight, as the body produces vitamin D in response to sunlight on your bare skin.
When you have a dog and spend a lot of time outdoors, your body can produce vitamin D from the sun’s UV rays. Most people know that vitamin D is important for bone health, but it also helps teeth to grow stronger, supports a healthy immune system, regulates hormones, and of course can boost your mood as well.
Vitamin D deficiency is widespread in both adults and children. Adopting a dog and then spending time outdoors with your dog is one of the best ways to ensure you get adequate sunlight and maintain adequate vitamin D levels.
4. Dogs Help Improve Your Cardiovascular Health
Another wonderful healthy benefit of having a dog is improvement of your cardiovascular health.
The cardiovascular system includes your heart, arteries, and veins. Keeping this part of your body functioning properly can help prevent heart disease, stroke, and other related disorders.
Taking your dog for a walk helps you get exercise and boosts the blood flow to your heart. Families with dogs can become more physically active in general, not just taking the dog outside for walks, but even the act of feeding, petting, and playing with them can increase your heart rate and improve cardiovascular function.
Some studies have shown that owning dogs is linked to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as experiencing less heart attacks. Your dog can quite literally help to save your life!
5. Dogs Help With Anxiety and Depression
In addition to the general mood-lifting benefits of dog ownership, having a dog can have specific mental health benefits as well.
A lot of adults and kids struggle with anxiety, which can come in many forms. You or a family member might have generalized anxiety disorder where you experience overwhelming worry every day, have severe panic attacks, or suffer from specific types of anxiety like PTSD or claustrophobia. No matter what your anxiety is like or where it comes from, dogs may help tremendously.
If you are someone that has trouble leaving your house because of agoraphobia (fear of open spaces or being outside your home), then you can feel comforted when your dog is with you. If you tend to get a lot of panic attacks, it really helps to have a dog with you during those moments so that he or she can be with you until it is gone.
You can even train your dog to recognize the signs of an anxiety or panic attack and sit by your side until it is over. This is one of the many amazing things about having dogs.
Another mental health benefit of having a dog is seen if you suffer from depression. Dogs help with depression in various ways, which often depends on you and what you need from the dog. Some people find that simply not being alone and being in the company of their dog helps during depressive episodes, while others experience less severe depressive symptoms just by having a dog around.
Dogs are particularly useful for seniors who are isolated and need companionship, as well as people with chronic pain or life-threatening illnesses who can have a dog near them even at their worst times. In this way, the dog is considered a therapy animal, and may even go with you to the hospital.
6. Dogs Help with Stress Reduction
In addition to helping with anxiety and depression, having a dog can also help to reduce your stress levels.
Just about everyone deals with stress in some form, but some people and families have a higher than normal stress level. This is not only frustrating, but can be hard on your body and your mind. You can actually put your health in jeopardy from too much stress that is not dealt with properly.
Here are some different ways dogs can help with your stress:
- When you get more exercise with your dogs, you release endorphins, which helps you feel happier and more relaxed.
- Having a dog at home helps to ease family tension and reduce arguments and frustration between significant others.
- Dogs give families with kids more healthy activities and outlets for physical energy, thus reducing everyone’s stress levels.
- You get a boost in serotonin levels, which can help to reduce your stress.
- Play time with your dogs helps to relax you, lowering your emotional stress.
7. Dogs Can Help Detect Health Problems
There is another remarkable physical health benefit to your family of having a dog that you might not know.
Dogs can actually recognize certain health problems! There have been studies about how dogs can sense something is wrong because of some change in you or a family member, whether in your smell, your behavior, or even your voice.
Your dog spends a lot of time with you, paying attention and noticing everything you do. Some dogs are even trained to look for signs of health conditions like cancer and diabetes. If you are at a high risk for health issues, you could get a service dog that is able to look for problems and alert you when you need immediate medical attention.
Other dogs will change their behavior to alert you when they sense something is wrong with a family member. This can be really helpful and reassuring when you or someone in your family has serious medical concerns.
8. Dogs May Help With Seizures
Another amazing health benefit of having a dog is their ability to help with seizures.
Dogs can help keep a person calm who is having a seizure. Many people who have epilepsy
also have dogs because a dog can be a comfort and companion during a seizure.
While your dog is there to help you through a seizure that is in progress, many people believe their dog warns them even before the seizure begins. This can help you get to a safe place before the attack comes on.
Regardless of whether or not this is actually true, one thing is for certain: having a dog near you when you go through a seizure can truly be comforting and make you feel safer.
9. Dogs are Great Protectors of People and Property
What at first this seem not directly related to health benefits, having a dog to help protect you and your property can actually be hugely beneficial.
With crime rates growing in many areas, having a dog that serves to guard your family may be worth considering.
While alarm systems and personal defense weapons may have their place, dogs can warn you when an intruder is prowling around, and also potentially chase or fight off a person who poses a threat to your family.
One type of dog, the Great Dane, looks very imposing and would likely scare off anyone who sees it around your house. Guard dogs can be trained to recognize intruders, and are generally known to be gentle with kids.
10. Dogs can help prevent allergies
While some people may be sensitive to allergens associated with dogs, kids who spend a lot of time with their dog are not as likely to have allergies.
Studies suggest that having a dog in your house can help children to have improved immunity to pet allergies in later life.
Final thoughts on health benefits of having a dog
Having a dog can contribute to the physical and mental health of you and your family. In addition to providing companionship, dogs promote a family’s sense of overall well being, which is why having a dog is healthy for your family.
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