Often referred to as "man's best friend", owning a dog comes with so many health benefits - both for the dog and the human. Recent research by the University of Toronto, Canada
and Mount Sinai Hospital, New York
has found that, compared to non-dog owners, those with dogs in the home had a 24% reduced risk of dying in any year.
Why having a dog is such a good thing!
- Walking your dog, and the regular exercise involved, is especially good for the heart as well as overall physical health. When you have a dog, you have such a good motivation for physical activity, helping you get exercise two or more times a day.
- If you have suffered a stroke, there are very positive effects to help in recovery and recuperation when you have a dog.
- Walking your dog leads to conversations and social interaction with other dog walkers as well as regular passersby, improving your sense of well being and mental health.
- Having the companionship of a dog in your home can help alleviate loneliness and depression, helping to counteract the effects of social isolation and the risk of poor health and premature death. A dog is not only a pet but a best friend at the same time. This is why they make such good therapy ambassadors as well as guide dogs.
- Dogs are incredibly loyal, following you everywhere, protecting you and not asking for much in return.
- If you are not the only one in the house, dogs are great family members helping the whole family to fare better when it came to depression, loneliness, disease, self-esteem, meaningful existence, stress, and activity.
There have even been conversations about prescribing adopting a dog in place of medication for many of these conditions.
Of course there are some drawbacks to having a dog
There is a commitment in both time and money. We often see the signs that read "a dog is for life, not just for Christmas!"
- Having a dog means making sure he or she is properly cared for.
- Having a dog means establishing a routine for walks, feeding and training.
- Having a dog means ensuring any medical care is given, through a vet if needed and that can be expensive.
- Having a dog means ensuring they are taken care of if you have to go away for any reason.
It is important of course to be aware that a dog cannot just be discarded, they will be yours for anything up to twenty years. Nevertheless, they can bring their owners great happiness
, often helping them through difficult times.