There are so many health benefits of dogs that I think insurance companies should cover the cost. Seriously. Even though I’ve been a dog owner, I had no idea. Here are just a few of my favorites:
Dogs Boost Our Happy
The number one health benefits of dogs in my book is that they make us happy. In fact, just gazing into your dog’s eyes causes a 300% increase in your oxytocin level according to Science.com. Oxytocin is the “bonding” or “love” hormone that new mother’s experience with child birth and men experience with orgasm.
Having more of it helps to create stronger bonds and more social interaction. Which improves intimacy. Which makes us feel less lonely. All of which seriously bumps up our happy quota.
Dogs Keep You Active
Quite honestly, there is no better personal trainer than a dog. Living in LA where yards are a luxury, I walked my dog 5 or 6 times a day. Now, only one of these was a long walk, but it still means that I got outside and moving a lot. And as we all know, more movement = better health. I so wish that I owned a FitBit when I had my dog. I would have blown past 10,000 steps a day, no problem. The other advantage to getting out more often is that it makes you more social. I used to call my dog Alice the mayor of the block.
Dogs Reduce Stress
There is a reason why there has been such an uptick in the number of Service Dogs at airports: being near, looking at or petting a dog lowers both your anxiety level and your blood pressure. Two things that seem to sky rocket the minute that I step through the sliding glass doors at LAX. There have even been studies done showing that when dogs are allowed in the office, people perform better. Let’s see, reducing stress and upping performance…. sounds like a winning combination to me.
Literal Health Benefits of Dogs
And in case we needed another reason to love dogs, our four legged, furry pals are changing the face of medicine. Since dogs have noses that are 1,000 times more sensitive than our own, dogs are now being trained to detect cancer, diabetes and seizures. In one of the more exciting studies, dogs are being used to detect ovarian cancer, one of the deadliest forms of cancer, in blood samples. A team at the University of Pennyslvania is using this research to develop an electronic “nose” that could screen of hundreds of thousands of woman for ovarian cancer. Totally life altering.
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