10 Benefits of Being a Dog Owner 

If you are a dog owner or just a dog lover in general, then you are probably well aware of the many benefits that having a dog in your life bring.

From being a loyal family friend to enjoying days out together exploring the great outdoors, dogs really do improve our lives.

However, you may not yet be aware of what some of the latest scientific studies have to say about the benefits of being a dog owner. With that said, here are 10 benefits of being a dog owner.

Benefits of Being a Dog Owner-v3 (1)

1. Increased Physical Activity

Dogs are social animals that love playing with their owners. They also need daily exercise which is beneficial for both dog owner and dog. In fact, dog walking serves as a great way to achieve the recommended 30 minutes of daily exercise, which is a great way to reduce the risk of heart disease.

2. Helps People Socialize

Owning a dog means you increase the number of opportunities for social interaction, and this is obvious when you think about it, as during a walk you have a chance to encounter people, even potential friends. An Australian Study discovered that owning a dog not only helps people foster neighborhood friendships, but also be perceived as being more friendly by others.

3. Combat Depression

On average dog owners feel less depressed than people who don’t own a dog. The reasons for this appear to be that daily dog walks help those feeling depressed to maintain some level of exercise instead of simply staying indoors. The “feel-good” hormone oxytocin may also play a role, which is released when interacting with your dog.

4. Reduced Risk of Allergies

Children who grow up with a dog in the home are less likely to develop allergies later in life. Studies indicate that this is especially true in the case of new-born infants exposed to dogs, who have a reduced likelihood to develop common allergies including eczema.

5. Decreased Stress

Owning a dog appears to help decrease stress levels. A study conducted by the State University of New York found that peoples stress levels reduced when in the presence of their dog rather than a friend or family member.

6. Your Dog May be able to Detect Cancer

It’s no secret that dogs have a powerful sense of smell, in fact, compared to humans, they have 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, while we have about six million. Anecdotal reports of dogs licking people’s lumps only for them to later discover it was cancer are not uncommon. Amazingly recent studies suggest that dogs may be capable of using their sense of smell to detect cancer cells in humans.

7. Improved Heart Health

People who own dogs have been demonstrated to have a heart health that’s much more desirable compared to non-dog owners. According to the CDC, on average dog owners tend to have a lower cholesterol and have an increased chance of heart attack survival. However, the reason for this remains unclear – could it be because dog owners tend to live a more active lifestyle?

8. Helps Child Development

Children who grow up in households that own a pet dog benefit from the experience in numerous ways. Becoming attached to a dog allows kids to express themselves better and relate to diverse situations. Some studies suggest that dog owners display more empathy than cat owners too, so they may even help kids to become more outgoing and social.

9. You Get Sick Less

Some statistics suggest that pet owners are sick less often than those without pets. The exact reasons for this so far remain unclear. However, a study highlighted that people over the age of 65 who owned a pet sought medical help 30% less often than non-pet owners.

10. Helps You Lose Weight

People who own dogs are more committed to daily physical exercise since the majority of people asked considered it a responsibility of owning a dog rather than to exercise. The best part? Studies have highlighted that daily dog walks can help you lose weight.

References

(1) [Sundstrøm 2009] Spencer W. Brooks, Daniel R. Moore, Evan B. Marzouk, Frasier R. Glenn, Robert M. Hallock. (2015) Canine Olfaction and Electronic Nose Detection of Volatile Organic Compounds in the Detection of Cancer: A Review. Cancer Investigation 33:9, pages 411-419.

(2) [Vina 2012] Vina J, Sanchis-Gomar F, Martinez-Bello V, Gomez-Cabrera M. Exercise acts as a drug; the pharmacological benefits of exercise. British Journal of Pharmacology. 2012;167(1):1-12. doi:10.1111/j.1476-5381.2012.01970.x.

(3) [Coren 2016] Coren S. Stop the Presses! Dog Owners Are Happier. Psychology Today

(4) [University of Winscosin] School of Medicine and Public Health. Infants Exposed to Dogs Less Likely to Develop Allergic Diseases. Dept. of Pediatrics

(5) [Allen 2002] Allen, Karen; Blascovich, Jim, and; Mendes, Wendy B.  Cardiovascular Reactivity and the Presence of Pets, Friends, and Spouses: The Truth About Cats and Dogs. Psychosomatic Medicine: September-October 2002 – Volume 64 – Issue 5 – p 727-739

(6) [Skerret 2015] Skerret PJ. Pets can help their humans create friendships, find social support. Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Medical School. Harvard Health Blog

(7) [Siegel 1990] Siegel, J. M. (1990). Stressful life events and use of physician services among the elderly: The moderating role of pet ownership. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58(6), 1081-1086.

(8) [Johnson 2010] Johnson RA, Meadows RL. Dog-walking: motivation for adherence to a walking program. Sage Journals Volume: 19 issue: 4, page(s): 387-402

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