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10 Science-Based Benefits of Having a Dog

Benefit N#10 will blow your mind ..

1. Dogs make us feel less lonely.

Dogs can be there even when people are not: they offer unconditional love, emotional support and constant cuddles. They offer unconditional love, emotional support and constant cuddles that help prevent social isolation. A small Australian study found that owning a dog reduces loneliness.

A national survey conducted by the Human-Animal Bonding Research Institute among pet owners and non-pet owners found that 85 percent of respondents believe that interaction with pets reduces loneliness. Most agree that human-animal interactions can help solve the problem of social isolation.

2. Dogs are good for the heart.

Owning a dog can help you live longer. A comprehensive review of studies published between 1950 and 2019 found that dog owners have a lower risk of death. Studies suggest that dog owners have lower blood pressure levels and a better response to stress.

Just living with a dog also makes a difference: people who had had previous coronary events had an even greater level of reduced risk of death. The research concluded that the human-dog bond reduces stress, which is a major cause of cardiovascular problems.

3. Dogs help to stop stress

Your canine companion can offer comfort and ease your worries. Numerous studies show that dogs and therapy dogs help relieve stress and anxiety.

Even just petting a familiar dog lowers blood pressure and heart rate, slows breathing and relaxes muscle tension. Scientists at Washington State University found that just 10 minutes of petting a dog can have a significant impact. Study participants experienced a significant reduction in cortisol, a major stress hormone.

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4. Dogs help us get through crises

Dogs help us recover psychologically from a crisis. The Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine found that military veterans with PTSD recover better both physiologically and psychologically when they have a service dog. Veterans with a service dog have significantly fewer PTSD symptoms and show better coping skills.

5. Dogs encourage movement.

Long walks on sidewalks, trails, and paths build up. A 2019 British study found that dog owners are almost four times more likely to meet daily physical activity guidelines than non-owners. Dog owners spend nearly 300 minutes a week walking their dogs. This is 200 minutes more walking time than those who do not have their own pups.

6. Dogs make you more attractive, even virtually.

If you are looking for a date, it may be time to get a dog. The presence of a dog can make people seem friendlier and more attractive.

In one series of studies, men were more likely to get a woman’s phone number when they had a dog with them. In another study, researchers asked individuals to rate people in photographs and found that people appeared happier and more relaxed when they were in the company of a dog.

A study conducted by Pet Wingman found that men and women switched hands more often to the right when they included a picture of their puppy in their profile. Women benefited more than men with dogs on their profiles (and finding photos of Fido in the camera roll should be no problem: one study found that 65 percent of dog owners admit to taking more photos of their dog than of their partner).

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7. Dogs make us more sociable.

Walking with a canine companion can make us more approachable and offer people a topic of conversation. Think about how many times you have talked to other people, whether they are your neighbors or new friends at the dog park.

Researchers have found that about 40 percent of dog owners find it easier to make friends. Dogs are the perfect way to meet strangers and make new friends.

A study from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University concluded that people who have a strong attachment to a pet feel more connected in their human relationships and in their communities.

8. Dogs are so adorable that they make us love them.

There is a reason puppies are so irresistible: a dog’s facial features possess a “childlike pattern.” These “social liberators” trigger an innate nurturing response in humans. So the next time you can’t stop watching that dog video, know that those big eyes and floppy ears are scientifically attractive.

9. Dogs make us happier

Just looking at a dog can lift your mood: a 2009 study in Japan found that staring into a dog’s eyes increases the level of oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone.” In addition to the general health benefits of dog ownership, dogs are a natural mood booster. According to a 2017 study, AIDS patients are less likely to suffer from depression if they have a pet.

10. Dogs help the seniors improve cognitive function and social interaction

Studies exploring the effects of dogs on the elderly have shown positive results. One study found that pet therapy improved cognitive function of residents with mental illness in long-term care facilities. Another showed a significant decrease in agitated behavior in the elderly with dementia and improved social interactions.

The four-legged best friend provides unconditional love and support, which is especially important during difficult times. Although we think we are the ones who take care of our canine companions, the road is two-way: dogs take care of us, and science confirms it.