Surprising Dog Health Benefits for You

There are a multitude of reasons dogs are called humans’ best friends.  When you come home after a long, stressful day to a wagging tail the immediate sense of happiness and calm you feel is incredible.  Dogs are funny, uplifting, loyal companions, and seem to understand us in a way no other human can.  But they can provide a whole lot more than tail wags and cuddles. In fact, just petting a dog can reduce the petter’s heart rate and blood pressure—all while having a positive effect on the dog as well.

We’ve rounded up some of the perks of being a pup parent.  Here is a list of dog health benefits in which having a dog around can affect your health for the better.

4 Dog Health Benefits

Dogs are Stress Soothers

Simply being in the same room as your dog can have a calming effect.  Spending time with your dog can increase your level of the hormone oxytocin, a neurotransmitter that increases trust and reduces fear.  When we look at our dog, it can bring feelings of joy accompanied by a decrease  in cortisol, a stress hormone.

Dogs are Social Magnets

Have you ever thought of your dog as your wingman?  Having a dog around you helps you be more social, approachable and can even help you get over shyness.  They can help you connect with other people.  Think about all the different activities with your dog—going to dog parks, hikes, festivals—they can be a great conversation starter and way to meet new people.

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Dogs are Good For Your Heart

Not just because of those feelings of love they elicit when you look into their eyes.  The American Heart Association reviewed many studies examining the effects of pet ownership on risk of cardiovascular disease and found that having a furry friend, particularly a dog, is linked to a reduction in this risk.  Dogs are also good for your heart by being loving and loyal companions.  In a 2009 study conducted at the UCLA Medical Center, heart failure patients who came in contact with therapy dogs for 12 minutes a day demonstrated notably reduced blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety, according to Rover.

Dogs Get You Moving

Dogs need lots of exercise.  And they are the best companion for a stroll. For many of us dog owners, taking your dog out for a walk is an important part of our own fitness routine.  Walking the dog regularly can improve your overall health, improve bone health and muscle tone.  It’s a win-win for both you and your dog’s health!

These dog health benefits are more than enough reason to open your home to a furry friend if you haven’t already.  Being a dog owner helps us to be happier, healthier and all-around better people – they help us by simply being their amazing doggy selves.

If you are suffering from a recent injury or just looking to get back in shape in 2017, request an appointment at DHT Physical Therapy today.

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