How can owning a dog improve our wellbeing?

As any dog owner knows, your furry companions can make any bad day turn good. Their playful energy and unconditional love are what make them such loving pets and respected members of the family.

However, did you know that there are actual scientific explanations for how dogs improve our wellbeing? Not only does owning a dog benefit our physical health but they also positively affect our mental health too. We take a look at some of these in more detail below.

Increased physical health

Whether it’s long walks in the countryside, playing fetch in the garden, or a trip to a dog-friendly bar, moving with your pet increases your physical activity. A dog is also a great source of motivation, promoting engagement and adherence to regular exercise.

And it’s a cheap means of getting exercise. You don’t need to sign up to a gym or join a class. All you need to do is mention going for a walk and your pup will be ready to go out the door.

Reduced negative emotions

Human beings rely on a sense of purpose to get them through their day. The same goes for feeling connected to others, which offsets feelings of loneliness. By getting a dog, or any animal for that matter, you combat the effects of solitude while giving yourself that purpose to get up each day.

Elderly individuals or those who have lost loved ones tend to find looking after a dog therapeutic. These feelings are enhanced further when your dog is content and their environment is enriching. You can easily do this by providing them with various toys to play with and a luxury dog bed to sleep in.

Enhanced socialisation

It’s not just your dog that you end up interacting with but many other dog owners too. Whether it’s passing by people on walks, having friends come by for puppy playdates, or joining an online group for pet owners, there are countless opportunities to make new friends.

Reduced anxiety and stress

Humans and dogs share a special connection and studies have shown that there’s a hormonal reason for this. Even by just petting your dog, calming endorphins are released into the body, more specifically oxytocin. This actually occurs in both species as well.

This is one of the main reasons behind service dogs, which are proven to help those with learning disabilities and mental health conditions like PTSD.

Lower cholesterol and blood pressure

Owning a dog is even believed to help reduce blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol, particularly for those who are at high risk. In turn, this lowers the risk of heart conditions like heart attacks.

The reason for this is likely a combination of the factors mentioned previously in the article. For example, increasing your exercise, improving your mental health, and reducing your stress levels are all great for your heart.